The Gifts of Christmas

December 01, 2015 at 1:15 PM

Christmas being a special time of giving was the pervading theme of this year’s Girls’ School Carol Service. The giving of time to be shared, of gifts under the tree, of love between family and friends, and of thanks for the birth of Jesus Christ were celebrated during the jubilant service at St Mary’s Church last night. After the congregation was welcomed by The Very Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, and Acting Principal Mrs Judith Dobson, the guests rejoiced in the gift of music with the opening song, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. It was introduced with a beautiful duet by Head Girl Moiralisa Aneru and Chapel Prefect Selena Agaimalo which inspired the guests to be in full voice for the following verses.

The readings and hymns chosen for the service all touched on gifts to remember during the festive season: those of love, hope, joy, peace, friendship and God’s gift to the world. The students from Saint Kentigern Preschool made a cameo appearance to sing ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’, with big voices and enthusiastic actions! The girls reading Bible verses, poems and Christmas messages were interspersed with carols performed by the students, who were joined for traditional favourites such as ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Mary’s Boy Child’.

Year 8 student Ava Beca’s reading invited her schoolmates to bring forward offerings that would be provided to Auckland City Mission for families in need. ‘The joy of brightening other lives with gifts is part of our service to the wider community,’ said Ava. ‘As the shepherds and the wise men brought gifts of love to place at the manger for the new baby, so we too leave our gifts.’ Alexandra Knox, who is in Year 8, expressed similar sentiments: ‘As we celebrate the birth of Jesus tonight, let us reflect for a moment on these important gifts and what Christmas really means. This festive season, let us share our special gifts with those around us to make our communities a happier place.’

Accompanying the School Choir singing ‘Child in a Manger Born’ were the Year 1 girls arranging themselves in a cherubic nativity scene at the front of the church. The Performers’ Choir appropriately followed with ‘The Angel Song’. Reverend Reuben Hardie’s message was based around people’s reactions to gifts. He presented a handful of girls with a variety of presents from a rubber chicken to chocolate coins, with their reactions making plain how desirable their gift was! He imagined what Mary and Joseph’s reactions to the gifts from the wise men would have been. Gold would have been a very welcome gift, while the unusual gift of frankincense might have confused them, until the wise men pointed out that it was used to anoint those who served God. Myrrh was traditionally associated with death so could have been disappointing for Mary and Joseph. ‘Yet the wise men who gave it perhaps knew that the death of Jesus on the cross was going to be the significant moment in his life,’ said Rev Hardie.

The service ended with a moving moment as the Year 8 girls came forward to receive their leaver’s candle from Rev Hardie and Mrs Dobson. The candles had each student’s name printed on, and will be a lasting reminder of their time at the School, along with their leaver’s scarves and bracelets. The congregation sang ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ as the students lined up front of them before filing out ahead of the guests. The recognition of the gift that the leaving girls had provided to the School, through their personalities, dedication and leadership, was a fitting way to end this merry and joyous occasion.

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