Festive celebrations begin with Advent Jaw

It is always odd celebrating Advent and Christmas in educational institutions, because no sooner than you have lit the first candle on the advent crown, it is the end of term and it’s time to sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing, pack up and go home for the holidays. Last Wednesday, our celebration of Advent began with Advent Jaw.

A week after the Church of England returned a “no” vote on the question of women bishops, it was an apposite moment to look at the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is tempting to think that the Church is behind the times in terms of the role of women, but Mary is unique amongst humans in the story of Jesus for not doubting, and for not failing. The Disciple Peter denies Jesus three times; Thomas doubts the risen Jesus; the Disciples fall asleep during Jesus’ last few hours. Yet the story tells us that this obscure Jewish teenager accepted the task with which she was presented.

When Bedales marks important points in the liturgical year, it is done in its own special way, in readings, poems and music. So, we lit the pink candle on the Advent Ring, and reflected on the message of Mary in words from the Bible as well as Sylvia Plath; chant from Taizé and choral music by Edward Elgar.

By Clare Jarmy, Head of PRE


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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