It’s amazing to me that in our society Christmas has become controversial. Last week someone I know on Facebook posted a story supporting a name change on a school calendar from Christmas Vacation to Holiday Vacation. Lots of schools and towns struggle over displaying Christmas trees. Many businesses are afraid to let their employees say “Merry Christmas” in fear of offending a customer who does not celebrate Christmas. It is strange that a day that marks the birth of a Man whose sole purpose on this planet was to bring love and peace to ALL people has become, for some, a means to spread division and fear among people. I want to feel comfortable saying “Merry Christmas!” to people I meet, and I want others to feel comfortable saying, “Happy Hanukkah!” or “Happy Kwanzaa!” or “Happy Ramadan!” Those greetings mean that one person is trying to share peace and joy with another, not that one person is trying to denigrate the beliefs of another.
I am so very grateful that at our school we can read wonderful literature, written by a very diverse group of authors, that celebrates the joy of Christmas. We read poems, essays, plays, short stories and informational text all with a Christmas theme. We have studied these poems, and many others, over the years:
“On a Pallet of Straw” by Langston Hughes, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” attributed to Clement Clark Moore , “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe, “little tree” by e.e. cummings, “December” by John Updike, and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Often we use the lyrics of Christmas songs and carols as poems to analyze and annotate. “The Grinch” has great metaphors, hyperboles, and alliteration!
I also love to read “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, “A Christmas Carol” (abridged for middle schoolers) by Charles Dickens, and “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” by Francis Pharcellus Church. We have read and delivered oral presentations about Christmas traditions around the globe and throughout history as well.
All these readings remind me that people everywhere, and throughout history, have celebrated Christmas with good cheer and peace toward men. That is the legacy of the birth of Jesus.
So to combat some of the “bah, humbug” that is bound to creep into our celebration of the season of light, I share with you songs and stories that remind us the Spirit of Christmas is everywhere. God bless us, Everyone!
How can you BE THE LIGHT this Christmas?