Derived from the Greek, “Advent” means “coming” or “arrival,” and for Christians is an important time of the year, signifying the coming of Christ. At St. Bernardine School in Forest Park, students, faculty and staff gathered Monday morning – as they do every Monday during Advent – to light a new candle on the Advent wreath. The four candles signify the four weeks of Advent, which lead up to Christmas.

This weekly ceremony at school is a good reminder for the children of the Catholic meaning of the Christmas season. Amidst shopping, decorations and photos with Santa, St. Bernardine students are kept aware that behind it all is something more than presents and lights.

In fact, the school tries hard to instill in its children the tradition of giving that is so important and necessary in our world.

Recently St. Bernardine School participated in Stockings for Soldiers, in which students supported the Kuratko-Nosek Funeral Home and Veterans & Family Memorial Care by donating items to be stuffed in stockings and shipped abroad to troops in time for Christmas. And this week, Girl Scout troops from St. Bernardine School will be sharing their spirit and voices while caroling to residents at The Belmont in Oak Park.

The holiday season is upon us, and at St. Bernardine School, students realize and remember that there is as much (and maybe more) joy in giving as in receiving.