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by R girl on 12/17/14
It was during a class discussion, last October, with my 5th and 6th graders about the Europeans' goal to spread Christianity to the new world, that I stumbled upon this very sad fact. The overwhelming majority of my 29 students don't have a clue what Christianity is, what Christmas is about, who Jesus Christ is.
First the back story: We were having a class discussion about the Age of Exploration and how finding the "new world" changed the goals of Europeans from claiming land to spreading Christianity to the inhabitants of America. One of my students asked me what that means. Long story short, I kept looking for some common ground. Looking for something he understood about Christianity-nothing. We had finally back pedaled so far that I asked him if he knew what Christmas is about-still nothing. And please, don't think to yourself "yeah but there are 28 other kids in the room surely the rest of them knew the story." Sorry. No. Like I said, the overwhelming majority 22 out of 29 had no idea what Christmas is about. Five of the remaining 7 had a vague idea. They were pretty sketchy on the details.
Fast forward to the week before Thanksgiving. Another class discussion about Thanksgiving traditions and what surfaces as the most common tradition (excluding the food)? You guessed it: Black Friday shopping. Many of the kids go late on Thanksgiving Day, a good amount go on Black Friday. Here's the rub. The same kids who don't have the vaguest notion about the true meaning of Christmas, know exactly what Black Friday is all about. I'd say about half even know why it's called Black Friday.
Now that my eyes are open, I can see evidence all around me. The true meaning of Christmas is vanishing. The radio stations playing Christmas music, play way more secular songs than religious. My students don't even understand the references to stars, wise men, shepherds, or new born king in any of the Christmas music.
I don't know about you, but I consider this to be a very sad statement about the condition of our country. Thanksgiving and Christmas have been completely overshadowed by Black Friday and consumerism. I think it's time to resurrect Christmas. Bring it back in all its glory. Play the music, send out Christmas cards with nativity scenes. I know it's fun to shop on Black Friday, but the joy of a discounted appliance or a cheap pair of shoes pales in comparison to the eternal truth: God so loved the world He sent His only son.