Dear SKS School Families, 

My hope is that you find great joy in this Christmas season.  At a conference this past August the speaker discussed the difference between joy and happiness. Do you know the difference?  I always thought they were basically the same thing.  The presenter said that happiness is usually based on external influences:  “When I have enough money or get a new promotion, I ‘ll be happy.”  “When I buy a bigger house, I’ll be happy.”  “When I  get the next new thing,  I’ll be happy ….” She explained that many people base happiness on chasing the next best thing out there, and she said much of it is based on the culture of consumerism, the more you have, the more you want or need. There is inherently nothing wrong with experiencing happiness but it can often be short-lived.  

On the other hand, experiencing  joy is for the long run. Joy is internal. Joy can’t be bought. It’s not conditional on the next event or situation. Joy comes from within. Joy travels with you.  Others see it inside of you.  Joy can be contagious –  it would be a good thing to catch.  Despite all we may experience in adversity within our families and our efforts here at SKS that challenge us, I hope we can all experience great joy this Christmas.

I would also like to wish you a sense of peace, in your minds, hearts and souls. Peace be to you, your families, and friends and I hope the Christmas holidays give you a chance to relax and be with your family and friends and experience a sense of calm. I wish you and your families good health.  Many of us have pretty much all we need. In the end, our health  and the health of our loved ones is what matters most. May God bestow the good fortune of health on you and your loved one this season and the coming New Year. 

Finally for any family that has loved ones experiencing any physical or emotional pain, I offer you my thoughts, prayers, and encouragement for restored health.  To our families that have lost loved ones, especially in recent times, I hope you hold those dear loved ones close to your heart and know they are with you,  just in a different way. Christmas is always a sentimental time for me. My Dad’s birthday was on Christmas and  my Mom’s birthday was the Feast of the Epiphany, on January 6th. They still mean so much to me.  I recall the many Christmases of years past, family meals, and traditions. My Dad  loved having his birthday on Christmas. He loved the double celebration. I still remember getting the best Christmas present ever: a Davy Crockett wagon my Dad put together.  My Mom made the best pizzelles! The smell of anise permeated the house and was as much  part of Christmas as the manger under the tree and wrapped presents.  Although Mom and Dad have been gone for several years now,  I can still feel their  presence and every so often my Dad and Mom send me a sign or message in the most subtle of ways. I take heart in knowing they are still a very large part of my family.

Blessings on all our SKS Families in the New Year.

Peace. joy and love,