Keep Christ in CHRISTmas


I am certainly enjoying Ace’s Christmas vacation. Can you tell? It’s been over a week since I’ve posted! So much has happened that I don’t know where to begin.

I guess first thing’s first. Over the years I have signed petitions to put Christ back in schools, to keep Christ in Christmas, etc. However, I never really felt the impact of his absence until last week. We were watching a Christmas movie and Ace announced that he had made a menorah in class that day. He went on to tell us all about Hannukah-oil was supposed to last only a day and it lasted 8; middle candle is called something–I don’t even remember; they cooked potato latkes in class. He also said that Jews believe in Jesus (he thought this because they read a story that stated the Jews believed in the true God). I told him they believe in Him as a person but not as the Son of God.

So I asked him what they did for Christmas. “Did you watch any Christmas movies? Learn anything about the Nativity?”

Well, needless to say I was pretty upset when all he could think of were gingerbread men and Christmas trees. Especially after he told me he watched a Kwanzaa movie and made crafts for that too.

I made sure he understood that we should never be ashamed to say we believe in Jesus and therefore don’t believe in certain things. I reminded him that Christ was not ashamed to be beaten, spat upon and crucified for us–out of His love for us–so we should never be ashamed to confess our faith in Him.

At this point, let me just say that I absolutely adore his teacher(s). She is a Christian woman and I really feel blessed to have him in her class. The next day I was scheduled to volunteer in his class so I figured I would talk with her then.

When I asked her about everything she told me that the state has laid quite a bit of red tape regarding the name of Jesus in schools. She did say they watched the Charlie Brown Christmas movie and she read them The Tale of Three Trees, etc. but other than that there wasn’t much more she could do.

I can’t tell you all the different emotions that I felt that day; sadness, disgust, sympathy…betrayal. I have been so naive with all of this. I just could not (still can’t) wrap my mind around the fact that even the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus, the Star of Bethlehem and the angels and shepherds and three wise men is not allowed to be told. Not even from a non-religious point of view? I can’t even begin to imagine the frustration a Christian teacher must feel when asked to basically conceal her faith and/or beliefs. This is just mind boggling to me…

I also explained that I don’t have a problem with my child learning about other cultures and what other people believe AS LONG AS the other children receive the same opportunity to learn what my child believes. I also told her that next year I would prefer him not to participate in the other “winter holiday” projects. She was very understanding and even urged me to contact the state, even though they’ve had a ton of opposition, it wouldn’t hurt to voice my opinion. I am certainly going to do just that. I had so much sadness in my heart that even typing this brings tears to my eyes. I simply can’t believe it has come to this.

Kyrie Eleison…

Have any of you with children in public school gone through this? What do you do?

Comments

  1. My mom was very heavily involved in keeping Christ in Christmas in the public schools while I was still attending them. She always told me that there are absolutely no real laws barring schools (or any other public areas) from using Christian themes as long as they don't fail to include other religions and celebrations. The real thing keeping them from mentioning even "Christmas Trees" (let alone Christ), is fear of litigation. That is, indeed, a real problem, because judges aren't always the best interpreters of the Constitution, so the school may lose their case.Unless something big has changed in the six years since I graduated, there's no reason Ace's teacher couldn't read straight out of the Bible for Christmas – as long as the school is willing to fight for it against those with thin skins who are easily "offended".I'd do a little research, if you have the time, and verify if Ace's teacher is correct about the red tape. I know mom said that many of the teachers and administrators she spoke with didn't actually know the laws surrounding our religious freedoms.

  2. It could be much worse!I was moved by this reportwww.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6001717n&tag=related;photovideoeven though there were many parts of it that I already knew about.

  3. We still have a lot of nativity plays here in the UK. My friend in England has a couple of rescue donkeys and they are very much in demand from primary (elementary) schools wanting to add a bit of realism to their production! It is so sad that one of the archetypal stories of our culture is being banned – and small children denied the fun of dressing up as angels and shepherds. If if it was Hannukah or Eid you could bet your last kourabithe they'd be learning about it in PhD level detail.

  4. I thought that there was a Christian group-perhaps Focus on the Family-that has a booklet that you can give to the teacher that explains what is allowed,because it is true that many do not understand the law.Andrea

  5. Niko is not old enough for school, but as a former teacher I know that you can't really say anything about any religious holidays.

  6. Same situation in Australia. That is why we have nothing to do with the public school system.

  7. Hi Sylvia,I am from Sydney Australia, and Thoxa To Theo (Glory to God) I am an Orthodox Scripture teacher in public schools. It is sad that they dont allow you to talk about your faith in schools. We only get half an hour a week, but I guess it better than nothing. In the school curriculum it should be one hour! I would love that as I do quite a lot of craft activities, and thankyou for your creative work.Merry Christmas and may you and your family have a blessed new year!Angela

  8. We don't look to school to provide religious education for our kids. It isn't really an issue of what is "fair" and what is not – life itself isn't fair (if it were, our Savior would not have been born in poverty).We're just as glad that the school doesn't provide religious education for our kids, because chances are it would be of a rather distorted nature, like much of American Christianity is.

  9. I wish that public schools would center their curriculum around comparative religions, in that the children are exposed to all sorts of traditions and celebrations as a sort of social studies/science project basis. I would introduce all sorts of traditions from our celebration of the Blessed Nativity, Diwali, Hanukkah, Eid, etc. and learn a bit about all. From my perspective, our Saviour can withstand the comparison…although my children are intrigued with learning about other traditions, they have no ill effects later as they know who they are and what they believe in. In fact, comparisons are teaching points and moments when our children bring them up at home. Remember, we cannot depend on the public school system to teach and reinforce our children not only in our Christian faith, but in our Orthodox faith in particular.

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