I work at a christian school – so during the holidays I get the honor of teaching our youngsters about the true meaning of Christmas. I was surprised that not one child in my class could tell me why we celebrate Christmas. It was surprising because most of the children in my class learned it last year – or so I thought. I mean, I just assumed the teacher in the 3’s class had gone over this – I guess she hadn’t or they just plain forgot. I suppose I’ll never know.
Here’s how our conversation went:
Me: “Can anyone tell me what holiday is coming up?”
Various Children (yelling): “Christmas!”
Me: “That’s right! Now, can anyone tell me why we celebrate Christmas?”
Various Children (yelling out random answers all at once): “Snow!” “Presents!” “Santa!” “Candy!” You get the idea.
Me: “Okay, one at a time! Let me give you a hint: It’s someone’s birthday. Raise a quiet hand if you think you know the answer.”
Girl A (raises her hand, I call on her): You know Ms. Eliot, after Christmas it’s my baby sisters birthday and we get to have a party and she is gonna get presents and we can eat cake and we can play games and my cousins will come and my aunties…”
Me (politely interrupting): “That sounds really fun, but her birthday is after Christmas. Does anyone know whose birthday is on Christmas?”
Boy A: “My moms? I think she has a birthday!”
Me: “Everyone has a birthday, but no, it’s not your moms. It’s Jesus’ birthday!”
After this announcement they got excited and a little chaos ensued – but it’s all good. I went on to read a book about the first Christmas which we discussed afterward (and have read similar books everyday since). Working with young children always give a fresh excitement to this time of year – gotta love it! 🙂