Berean Christian has some wonderful traditions. Not surprisingly, some of the best ones occur around Christmas.
The staff Christmas breakfast took place not long after dawn in the staff lounge on a chilly December morning a couple of weeks ago. It’s a favorite event for many staff members who don’t see each other in social settings as often as they’d like. The early morning gathering gives these colleagues a chance to be reminded that they are friends too.
This year, the breakfast featured food from Sunrise Bistro in Walnut Creek. It was a feast of pastries, bacon, eggs, and more. “Mrs. Shafer makes the lounge look like a winter wonderland,” says Emily Loney, the school’s secretary, and first impression specialist.
In years past, the staff has played a game or exchanged white elephant gifts. But this year, after teaching online last year, they just wanted to catch up with each other. They were eager to talk about their lives outside of school policies and COVID news. Mr. Runyan proudly showed off pictures of his new baby – a third son. Mrs. Shafer told everyone about her daughter’s beautiful wedding.
“After a tough year of COVID last year, our Berean traditions have become more important to us,” says Loney.
For students, the dread of final exams is made more bearable by parents who have established a tradition to provide goodies and snacks between test periods. Some parents donated snacks while others manned the tables.
Students are encouraged to grab a granola bar or load up on fresh fruit in the morning. They even get pizza during the mid-day break. With each trip to the snack table, a student also receives a friendly smile or an encouraging word. It’s no wonder that some students have been seen making a u-turn in the hallway in order to fly by the table a second time before their next exam.
Traditions and holiday (from the medieval word for “holy day”) rituals are one of the many important things that were disrupted by COVID. They are a core part of our humanity and as Kathleen Norris reminds us in her book The Cloister Walk when she writes, “Rituals bind a community together, and also bind individuals to a community.”
To those who have never known the comfort of belonging to something larger than themselves a snack table during finals week, or a simple breakfast for staff members may seem unimportant. But traditions like these give people a sense of participation in their community. As Christians, we experience life in two worlds, one of space and time, and the other of promise and expectation. May you experience peace and joy in the promise and expectation of a Christ-filled new year.