The Real Work of Christmas Continues
Upon returning to school after the rush of activity that occupies the holiday season, Oak Knoll students, faculty, and staff gather to celebrate the Venerable Cornelia Connelly’s birthday prayerfully. Connelly was born in Philadelphia on January 15, 1809, and founded the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ), of which Oak Knoll is a member of the Holy Child Network of Schools alongside eight other schools in the United States and 13 overseas.
Director of Upper School Campus Ministry Michele Van Kalsbeck offered a reflection during the service. She began by playing the monthly meditation for January produced by the SHCJ, which asks viewers to contemplate making a New Year resolution that seeks to improve the situation of others and not just improve something in ourselves. The meditation quoted an American Theologian, Howard Thurman, who wrote:
“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost, to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.”
Van Kalsbeck then asked students to contemplate their talents quietly, what they enjoyed, and how they could combine those two things to benefit others. Several brave and enthusiastic Lower School students then offered their thoughts publicly, including how to put soccer, drawing, singing, and playing with their little sister skills to work to help others. Several Upper School students also offered their thoughts on the meditation.
Lower School Religion Coordinator and Grade 3 Religion Teacher Patti Cepparulo wrapped up the prayer service by stating, “This room is certainly filled with talent. Now that Christmas is past, the concerts and the pageants are over in the Upper and Lower School, and we have celebrated the birthday of baby Jesus, who brought light into the world — now we have to spread that light. Use your talents and your gifts to spread that light.”
Oak Knoll challenges students to live by faith, learn by doing, and lead by example. All three vocations are intertwined throughout the year as the real work of Christmas continues.