Browsing through the English textbooks for primary school, I found with sadness that in the unit on Christmas there is NO word about the true meaning of this holiday, namely the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I find it painfully sad that in a nation of over 96% Christians, that is, followers of Christ, the history of His birth is missing from children’s textbooks. And then we wonder why children grow up without fear of God, without love and respect for people, do not go to church, are not reverent toward sacred things… God’s Word clearly says:
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he grows older he will not abandon it. (Proverbs 22:6)( NASB)
It is true that spiritual education is done more in the family, but today, in school, we have accepted so many pagan holidays and traditions, totally foreign to our people, under the pretext of Europeanization and we teach them without hesitation to our children, but the real holidays, the complex significance of the birth of Jesus we preferred to forget and not talk about.
I think it’s time to make sense of the winter holidays. As pedagogues, that is, teachers of souls, we bear a share of responsibility for the spiritual side of those subjects we teach.
Here is what a teacher can teach children about Christmas:
1. The Story of the Birth of Jesus
It’s the first thing he has to do:
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all the people were on their way to register for the census, each to his own city. Now Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was betrothed to him, and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.” When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (Luke 2:1-20 )(NASB)
Children love this story, because it has many characters, wise men, shepherds, animals, a bright star. The pictures are beautiful: a night, flocks of sheep scattered on the hill, a stable with animals and a baby in diapers. All this arouses the children’s attention and they retain the details. The Internet today abounds with video, audio, ready-made drawings and other means by which we can make the lesson very captivating.
2. Carols with an authentic message announcing the birth of the Lord
We all remember our childhood when, at Christmas, we looked forward to carolers to listen to them, hidden behind the curtain. It was a special feeling, a kind of delight / joy mixed with reverence. We looked at the sky with pity, trying to guess what it was like beyond the clouds. Unfortunately, carolers don’t come much today, and if they do, the message of carols is much changed. Instead of the glory of the Lord, they bring glory to money, to materialism. Even the children quickly sing their carol, wait to receive money and leave. They don’t enjoy cakes, nuts or candy like they used to. They leave satisfied only if you slip money into their pockets. But I think if they were taught what happened at Christmas and what implications the birth of Jesus has for their lives, then they would sing carols differently. A teacher could learn with his students at least 1-2 carols to pass on the true message of Christmas.
3. To do alms / charity / gifts
Jesus is God’s free gift for all mankind in general and for each of us in particular. Through faith in Him we receive eternal life. The beautiful habit of making Christmas presents must also bear this image of an undeserved gift, made to a person in whom you saw value. There will always be people around us who are sadder than us, who are in difficult circumstances, who will gladly receive a sincere gift / help. Children love to give gifts to others, I see it every day at school. In this way they express their appreciation, gratitude and love. I think it is good to direct these beautiful impulses from the hearts of children to teach them charity, almsgiving or simply human sensitivity. Organizing a joint collection or helping a classmate, the elderly, or a former teacher can be life lessons that children will not soon forget.
We all complain about the fallen state we are in, and we look for someone to blame, but not so much for solutions. Personally, I believe it is time to return to the values of God’s Word, it is time to fill the churches back, and it is time to kneel before God in prayer every night. I also sincerely believe that educators can really bring a change in our country through their lives and the teaching they give to students. That’s why I decided to go back to school, even though it’s not an easy job.
What do you choose to teach children this Christmas? Will they find out about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, who came and died for us, or … you choose!
Translated by Ina Croitoru