When I was in elementary school we had Christmas parties. There was always one or
two kids in my class who were Jewish and of course, didn’t celebrate Christmas. Instead of learning about the Jewish religion (or any other faith), we simply side-stepped the issue and enjoyed our cookies and punch.
Back then, we had gift exchanges, went caroling down the halls, and played games for the entire afternoon before our two-week winter break.
Today, school children don’t have Christmas parties–they have holiday parties instead. School officials are very careful not to bring religion into any type of school activity and there is no mention of what Christmas really means or why it’s celebrated.
There’s no portrayal of Jesus being born in a manger in the school pageant, or songs of little drummer boys in the winter program.
But despite the lack of religious teachings in public schools, most kids know the story of Mary and Joseph, and how they traveled to Bethlehem and found that there was no room at the inn. They know the tale of the shepherds in the fields who were visited by the angels and told of a king that was born in a manger, and how the three wise men came from afar just to see the babe in swaddling clothes.
Most children know that Christmas is more than just Santa Claus and presents. They may not understand where all the traditions come from, but I’m sure they’re aware that people are naturally kinder, more generous, and more caring at Christmas-time.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all do that? To not question the magic of Christmas, but just enjoy it?
If we could figure out how to keep that Christmas spirit alive all year-long, we would all be a little happier, a little more at peace.