I have been in the audience for two delightful Nativity plays in the past week. For our youngest children, this is a first step in the Performing Arts that thrive at our school. There is much excitement amongst parents when the roles are handed out, and no doubt much discussion on WhatsApp over the merits of being a camel rather than an angel. I would like to propose that The Innkeeper is the pivotal role in the story, a real hero, and one we can all learn from.
When we think of the Nativity story, there are some decidedly modern resonances. Mary and Joseph make a long and arduous journey to a place where they are strangers. Their mode of travel shows their economic circumstance, and they face the burden of paying a levy they had not expected. The indifference with which a pregnant woman is turned away from the lodging houses of Bethlehem can still be seen in the way some in our society treat our most vulnerable. The Innkeeper does not have much to give, a draughty stable and some straw, but he gives willingly as he understands the duty to care for others, and especially those in need.
Christmas is never, ever, a time to display an attitude of There is no room at the inn to those less fortunate, wherever or whoever they are. This message is more important than ever this Christmas, whether we consider those in the next street facing a December without heating, or those fleeing persecution or conflict in their homeland. Whether you observe Christmas as a festival at the heart of your faith, or as an entirely secular celebration of family and community, the simple message at the heart of the Nativity is applicable to all.
I know that every child and every family at St Christopher’s understands the importance of kindness. I see it every day on the playground, in lessons, during matches, and amongst staff and parents. It is one of the things that makes our school so special. I have been heartened to see the charity events and outreach that take place at St Christopher’s as a matter of course. As we left All Saints church at lunchtime, it was heartwarming to see the very generous donations made by our community to our four House charities, chosen for their vital work in our city. A St Christopher’s child knows that it is the responsibility of those who have more to share what they have with those who have less.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas.
Ms E Lyle, Head