Christmas seems to always come when we need it most. Yes, the date on the calendar for Christmas is always December 25th but what the feast teaches us never grows old. The essence of Christmas comes down to the intention that God wanted to enter our world through his son. The birth of Jesus shot light into the world and dispelled the darkness. None of us can argue with the fact that we have had our share of darkness lately on the evening news and Twitter feed. The stories of suffering, pain, disappointment, and struggle can sometimes be overwhelming. As adults we carry around our years of life experience and try to take it in stride hoping the tide will turn, and we'll begin to hear stories of celebration, joy, hope, and love. As headmaster I sometimes wonder what young Regis boys think and feel as they hear the same stories with their limited life experience. Do they begin to feel a sense of despair or fear in the face of struggle?
David Brooks the New York Times columnist spoke about overcoming darkness when he included this brief piece about the qualities of resilient people. "The people we admire for being resilient are not hard; they are ardent...They have a fervent commitment to some cause, some ideal or relationship. That higher yearning enables them to withstand setbacks, pain and betrayal...We are all fragile when we don't know what our purpose is, when we haven't thrown ourselves with abandon into a social role, when we haven't committed ourselves to certain people, when we feel like a swimmer in an ocean with no edge...People are really tough only after they have taken a leap of faith for some truth or mission or love. Once they've done that they can withstand a lot. We live in an age when it's considered sophisticated to be disenchanted. But people who are enchanted are the real tough cookies."
Who are the enchanted that surround us and help us dispel the darkness? St. Philippine Duchesne, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, St. John Francis Regis? To me these are the enchanted who light the way for us here at Regis. They took a leap of faith that led to a mission that lights the way for us 200 years after the mission began.
Recently a prospective parent was touring our Regis campus. Her family was preparing for a summer 2018 relocation to Houston. After touring our campus with Mrs. Beth Schneider she later wrote a note of thanks and commented her favorite part of the tour was seeing "all those polite-sweet boys." A few weeks later during one of our Welcome Wednesdays admissions tours I marveled at how our 8th grade boys carried themselves with class and pride while describing their Regis experience.
God breaks through the darkness to deliver his son to us. Our God - Emmanuel, is with us as we journey as a community. In our darkness and struggle we gain strength from the enchanted heroes and saints. The Regis teacher that wipes a tear from a frightened 2nd grade boy is one of the enchanted. The Regis parent who reaches out to help others impacted by flood waters is the enchanted. The Regis grandparent who offers a hug after a concert performance is the enchanted.
We are fortunate to be part of a loving and supportive community that doesn't accept the darkness. We are resilient in our faith as we encourage each other to live more fully with the gifts we've been given.
The gift of Christmas teaches us that the enchanted are all around us dispelling the darkness and lighting the way toward light and hope. This Christmas season we have a choice to join the enchanted and light the way for others who need the gift of hope. How fortunate we are to have a choir of Regis boys ready to dispel any darkness that might try to get the upper hand. We choose courage over comfort and light the way toward God's grace!