December 17, 2015

Amazing Peace

Photo from last year's winter celebration
Last night at the elementary school winter celebration, we heard beautiful music: the instruments and voices of our children. 

Friends’ winter celebrations, in the preschool classes and last night at Manhattan Middle School, are special occasions in our school calendar.  We observe the season of winter and light. The celebrations are always moving.

In my welcome to the audience last night, I read a portion of the enchanting poem Amazing Peace by the late Dr. Maya Angelou. (Full disclosure: I adapted the poem slightly.)  It was a poem that she wrote for the White House tree-lighting ceremony a decade ago. In this current climate of alarming news stories and intolerant political messages, I believe this message resonates.

All of us, parents and teachers, are so deeply ingrained in the lives of children. I am inspired by the students at our school every day.  They care.  They are determined to make a difference.  They give me hope.

Whichever holidays you celebrate, wherever your travels may take you over the next two weeks, I wish you peace.

Have a magical time over winter break with your children. This is a magical time. We will see you back in school on Tuesday January 5th.

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.
Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
Into this climate of fear and apprehension, the holiday season enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing songs of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the glad season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Maya Angelou
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.

- Dr. Maya Angelou

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