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Love is all around... (Actually)

Published on 03/01/20

...as the famous song from the Troggs goes:

There's no beginning, there'll be no end,
'Cause on my love you can depend

Sang Bill Nighy’s flawed character Billy Mack in the 2003 Christmas film Love Actually (still one of our favourite films although the Independent places it only at no. 7) with a seasonal riff substituting ‘Christmas’ for ‘love’ as he realised who he really loved. For many of us the words love and Christmas are synonymous as the season of love and goodwill to all mankind brings an often-unexpected surge of goodness and a temporary halt to hostilities. How then can we prolong this state of being beyond Christmas? Do we want to?

Boris Johnson used the language of the season in his somewhat muted Downing Street speech following re-election last month. He cleverly made unity a theme as he sought to ‘let healing begin’ after years of division over Brexit, Scottish independence and marginal government. He called for ‘levelling up opportunity’ and ‘unleashing potential across the entire country’ and hoped we would be ‘happy and secure’ in acknowledging that his government would seek ‘prosperity and growth’ for the people who elected his party.  He showered us in seasonal warmth and love and we hope it will continue into 2020.

The writer Joshua Leifer writes in the Guardian of how such solidarity of purpose is helpful in promoting strong and effective values to combat antagonism, aggression and other negative feelings. He urges us to practise solidarity of purpose and positive values to resist impulses of hate, fracture and suspicion and instead try to find common purpose to avoid division. Of course, this takes effective leadership and more than one victory speech to achieve but the principle is laudable.  In school we promote strong character values to help teach pupils to recognise and reject negative values whilst embracing good and positive ones. 

So many words have been written about love that it can be difficult to consider as a broad concept. All the poets, playwrights, musicians and artists have taken all the best words and used them in different ways to express love, often the romantic kind which is of course fantastic and joyous and even better when reciprocated. The love we have for our close family and friends is usually deep and affectionate but the love we feel towards our children is something different again; profound and enduring and we are confident it will stay this way. Our urge to make things better for our children is primal and helpful in teaching them how to act, react and think positively whilst rejecting negative approaches.  

As we start a new year and a new decade, filled with hope and good intention, 1 Corinthians surely has the definitive word on love:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  

Mrs Jane Jenkins
Bursar