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Prayer, service, giving back, and sharing joy at Christmas
Rachelle Garbarine

Prayer, service, giving back, and sharing joy… All are traditions at Gibbons, especially during Advent when students, educators, and parents come together in celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas. The ways our Gibbons family prepares for Christmas include:

Participating in special prayer services
Joining the Advent wreath display blessing and Christmas tree lighting
Listening to our students singing at the Christmas concerts and caroling in English and Spanish
Attending the Silent Night basketball game and indoor tailgate
Taking part in seasonal outreach efforts
 

Those outreach efforts consisted of 20 + Class of 2018 Gibbons Alumni who returned to their alma mater on a Monday before Christmas to staff the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen. The Gibbons school community also collected and donated new pillows to The Green Chair project, as well as new clothes and toys to 88 children who attend Beginning and Beyond Child Development Center in Raleigh. Both collection efforts were part of the annual Toy and Clothing Drive, sponsored by the National Honor Society (NHS).

“I feel blessed to be able to help so many children have a more special Christmas each year.  The generosity of the Gibbons community is truly amazing,” said Ursula Karazin, a Gibbons math educator and a NHS moderator.

For the third consecutive year our students and educators also put on a special Christmas program for the Beginning and Beyond children and their families that included a dramatic reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Among the special gifts the children from Beginning and Beyond received this year was a book from members of the Ink Writing Club. One afternoon before the start of the holiday season the children, with the help of Ink members, created stories and illustrated them with drawings. The stories and illustrations then were turned into books for each child and were distributed to each teacher at Beginning and Beyond for their classrooms.

“December is such a busy month here at Gibbons but amid the busyness our school community has remembered that we are called to embrace the mission of Jesus Christ,” Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82 said. “I love how much our students, parents and educators ensure that the families we serve through our partner agencies are cared for during this holiday season”

"On behalf of our school community, I'd like to wish all of our students and families continued joy in this Advent season, a restful break, and a Blessed Christmas," said Principal Jason Curtis.

For the last few years Gibbons has invited parents and friends to attend an Advent Reflection series to learn more about the birth narratives within the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. For four sessions on Tuesday evenings in November and December Gibbons Theology Educator Patrick Dmytriw discussed these wonderful accounts of the birth of Jesus with 17 participants who registered for the classes. This is the second time he has led the series.

Describing what he hoped attendees gained from this year’s series, Dmytriw said:” I hope that they gained a fuller understanding of the Scripture that is read at the Sunday Masses during Advent. That is the main aspect of the course....to examine the readings for the upcoming Sundays to provide greater context, and therefore greater appreciation and personal meaning.”

One of the newer traditions at Gibbons is Silent Night, which this year comprised: art stations with cardboard coloring playhouses, edible cookie and gingerbread house decorating, catching a glimpse of the Mars Rover Gibbons students are building, and gathering in fellowship at an indoor tailgate, as well as at two basketball games. This Only at Gibbons event also included a life-sized snow globe, enacted by Gibbons drama students.

“Silent Night showcased the amazing level of student engagement, passion for community, musical talent, and how familial Gibbons feels,” Director of Student Engagement Tonya Holmes said.

Principal Jason Curtis said that all these events, "in our unique Gibbons way, help us as a community to prepare for the coming of our Savior. The sharing of our gifts, serving others, and praying, learning, and celebrating together, help to remind us of the purpose of Advent, and fill our halls with joy and anticipation."

He added, "On behalf of our school community, I'd like to wish all of our students and families continued joy in this Advent season, a restful break, and a Blessed Christmas!"