'A weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn'.
Those were the lines that filled my mind as I drove out the school gate today. I love my work, really I do; and, I love all the students I teach. Especially today, as I watched tiny Year 7 students crane their necks to see their teachers behaving like fairytale simpletons on the stage of the school pantomime. We laughed today, we laughed as a community, together. It was joyful. But, we were also weary. My, we were weary. Everywhere I looked I saw sleepy, tired faces. People doing their best to just get to end. There were frayed tempers, emotional moments, and a few tears shed. All part of the end of term at Christmas.
When the last bell sounded, and I was free to jump into my car and drive through the gate for the last time in 2013, it was relief mixed with tiredness and delirious joy. A new and glorious dawn of rest time with those I love more than anything in the world is just around the corner. I think that dawn will sneak up this year, for a different Christmas is planned. My dearest Da is going to be in hospital, and I will be with him and my Ma. I am sure I will sit and chat with them both in the quiet wards. I'll crochet the blanket I should have finished by now, a present for my Ma that has been on the go since this time last year. I am sure my brothers and sisters will appear, and we will catch up and tell jokes. I'll cuddle up with my loved one and laugh with my friends.
That's the thing about Christmas, see? LOVE is the new and glorious dawn. And, no matter how weary we might be now, no matter what challenges we have yet to face, it is love that will creep up and redeem us, energise us and grant us peace. That love is, of course, revealed in the Gospels: God chooses to become a vulnerable baby born to refugee parents in a cold cave-stable in an occupied land. You can't say the Gospels are innocent of the cruelty of life. But, the child brings love, tenderness and hope to the world. The child brings joy where there was none, and laughter where there were tears. The child brings a new and glorious dawn - to rich, to poor, to good and bad, to employed and unemployed, to Christian and those of other faiths, to everyone.
The child will bring such a dawn again.