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The Christmas cruise that (almost) wasn’t

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Jesus, the reason for the season, is being systematically excluded from Christmas celebrations. Charisma magazine contributor, Ken Walker, had this to say in the December 2013 issue, “… in many public schools, Christmas programs have morphed into ‘holiday shows’ and Christmas vacations have been labeled ‘winter break.’ Last December, parents in Montana and Massachusetts declared carols a form of bullying. And in October a Bordentown, N.J., school district banned ‘religious’ Christmas music at any school concerts.” This onslaught against celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world isn’t taking place on land only, but on the high seas as well.

On a seven day cruise which included December 25th, one cruise line that sails out of Port Canaveral, Fla., stated in their written instructions, “Religious services will only be offered onboard if there are clergy sailing and wish to volunteer their services during their most holy days of Christmas, Easter, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” Despite this declaration, the ship was festooned with red and gold decorated trees and wreaths. A bright red mailbox was labeled “Letters to Santa.” And a large Jewish menorah stood in a corner.

Upon learning there would be no official Christmas celebration, Sheila Wilkins, a passenger on the cruise, expressed her dismay. She went on to say she would gladly participate in a private one.

Inquiries on how to host an event were directed to the event coordinator. A conversation with the young lady revealed a well-kept secret – the Cruise Director had already planned to have a celebration. On Christmas eve there would be caroling. And on Christmas day, the Christmas story would be read accompanied by the singing of hymns. Cruise Director James (last name withheld to protect his job) said he would always host a Christmas event aboard the ships he worked on.

On Christmas day at 5:15 p.m., hundreds of passengers seated in the lobby and standing on the balconies overlooking the atrium, sang “Joy to the World” to the accompaniment of several musicians. Members of the cruises entertainment company read passages from the Bible telling the Christmas story. The ladies dressed in bright red and the men in black suits with red ties. Surrounded by the holiday decorations, the event was a feast of sight and sound.

Thanks to James, the Christmas cruise that almost wasn’t, became the Christmas cruise that was.

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