Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saint Nicholas

Another last today. The last time Saint Nicholas will visit this class of students. He has come for eight years. Every year he reads a short poem about each student stressing their strengths, their challenges, their current situation.

They always listen to his words with rapt attention. What will he say about me? Does he really know me?

In all these eight years, never once, have they questioned where these verses come from. They may suspect I write them, but no-one says it aloud. Saying it aloud would spoil the magic, and even fourteen year olds can believe in magic.

They were as excited this year as they were in Grade One. Maybe more, because now the rhythm of the season has been with them for eight years.

Saint Nicholas has been coming to my class for eight years. He and I have become great friends. He is a great man, and he is patient and kind, loving and jolly.
It is quite the festival, and his naughty companion, Peter, brings cookies and oranges for us all, and we have to be careful, because sometimes Peter does silly, mischievous things in the classroom that we don't always discover until later in the day.

So, for ten minutes today, my Grade Eight students suspended dis-belief. They put aside their sleepiness, and malaise, and contrariness to allow themselves to be swept up in the magic of Saint Nicholas.

December at my school is one magical event after the other: weekly advent assemblies, Saint Nicholas, Santa Lucia, Cascadia Fairy Tale and the Shepherds' play.

And, singing. Lots of singing.

I love December. Thank you, Saint Nicholas. Your visit is always the true beginning of my Christmas season.

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