On Tuesday evening, following a day of heavy snow, students and staff gathered together to share a Christmas dinner and the experience of a candlelit Christmas Chapel service.
The service commenced with a solo performance of the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City by Meghan E. The choir sang the second verse as they processed down the aisle before being joined in song by the whole congregation for the final verses.
In his opening words, Reverend James Holland touched on what he hoped would be the focus of this Christmas Chapel—the importance of universal harmony, goodwill and compassion.
“We listen to the story of the birth of Jesus and we sing the familiar carols that tell that story in song. We listen carefully to hear the heart of the story: the message of light in the darkness, hope amongst despair, and the power of love over fear and hate.”
In between carols, lessons were read by Spencer N., Aysia R., Dominic P., Chloe S, Atoussa F., and Dean M. The congregation was also treated to a performance by the Chamber Choir, a solo by Maia C., and a piano duet of the Ukrainian Carol of the Bells by Clara L. and Nicole S.
In his closing remarks, Headmaster David Robertson thanked everyone for an outstanding term and talked about rising to the challenges of both winter weather and life. He referenced the symbolism of light, suggesting that it signifies the realm of the positive, characterized by awareness, understanding, kindness, hope and possibility. “Shawnigan has brought its little light to the world. Other schools are doing the same and the more schools we have doing that, the more we will conquer the darkness where fear and insecurity live.”
During the singing of the final carol, Silent Night, prefects walked through the congregation to light candles, which were held aloft in a moment of reflection.
After the service, students returned to their houses for final farewells and house celebrations before making their journeys home for the holidays.
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.