Houston & Peach

Christ a big part of Christmas in British schools

Last week I had the opportunity to be the proud mom armed with a camera on the front row as my 4-year-old performed in his first Christmas play.

One of Avery’s class projects for the year is putting on the Christmas play. The play wasn’t about reindeer and Santa, the Grinch or any other commercial Christmas character. It was about the birth of Jesus.

Back in the States, my son would have never been able to bring a Bible story to life on stage as part of a school-sanctioned event. But here in England, a play depicting the Nativity scene is an annual event for the reception program.

I can just imagine the negative publicity and numerous complaints a public school in the States would get if they attempted such a thing. It made me realize just how consumed some Americans are with the separation of church and state and how the political correctness surrounding it isn’t necessary.

I can’t remember the last time I went to a public school-sponsored anything that had the nerve to talk about anything biblical to its students. Here in England, even as a 4-year-old, my son, is being taught the beginnings of Christmas at school. My son even had the privilege of playing Joseph and of caring for the baby doll that starred as Baby Jesus.

There were droves of parents cheering their children on as they told the story of the “Gigantic Star” and how special it was because it served as the beacon of light that highlighted the birth of Christ.

I didn’t notice anyone concerned that it was a biblical story or upset about the play’s message. Just proud parents, grandparents and siblings thrilled that their children did such a grand job.

The Nativity play is just the beginning of the Christmas festivities for Avery and his peers. But I love the fact that the school doesn’t just focus on giving presents and learning the reindeers’ names. Instead, it focuses on giving them a balanced understanding of Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong. The school has plenty of activities that include the big guy in red — such as a special visit with him this week.

I guess you could say here they don’t seem to have to worry about taking the “Christ out of Christmas.”

Amanda Creel, who was a staff writer at the Robins Rev-Up newspaper on Robins Air Force Base, is married to Staff Sgt. Justin Creel, stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Contact her at acreel@macon.com.