Assembly this morning was a jolly affair with superb end of term reports delivered by our Form 8 (and Maisie). Before we got to the most energetic version of the 12 Days of Christmas that I’ve ever experienced, I shared a few words with the school. No doubt you’ve heard the well-known Christmas slogan 'It's the thought that counts’. And we know it’s true. You’ve experienced how pleasant it is to get; and also to give a gift which is the perfect fit for the recipient. And by contrast, we know how numbing it is to get a present that was obviously selected with no thought or imagination. So, forget what you might have seen on TV or read in the Sunday supplements, if you want the best ever guide to choosing a Christmas gift, remember these five simple words ‘It’s the thought that counts.’
So this got me wondering whether there is a similarly useful piece of advice for the rest of the year which is as neat as these five Christmas words? And I came to the conclusion that yes, there is, and this time its four words – ‘It’s thought that counts.’ People underestimate the power of thought. How easy it is to blunder through life giving little thought to others and the impact that our actions have upon them. How tempting it is to put ourselves first and think of others only once we have got what we need. But this isn’t good enough, it is obvious that, at Christmas, who we think about and what we think of them are very important. So let us not forget, our thoughts shape our words, actions and ultimately our future all through the year.
Christmas is a time for thinking - about our loved ones, our desires, ambitions and our dreams. But if our desires and dreams come at the expense of another's unhappiness or loss, then we need better desires and dreams. This year, instead of only thinking about what we can get, let's thinks about what we can give to make the lives of others better. We should never forget the obvious truth that the presents, our desires, are at the base of the Christmas tree, and the guiding star is at the very top. There's a moral perspective and reason for these positions. So this Christmas, why not consider what thoughts guide you and your actions and may they be as wonderful and positive as possible.
John F Gilmour