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War on Christmas: How to teach the true meaning of the holiday

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Dear LA Teacher,

How can a parent teach his child the true meaning of Christmas when conservatives commandeer the religious festival for political ends while the consumer economy creates an obscenity called Black Friday? It looks to me that the War on Christmas is being fought on two fronts.

Disgusted Parent

Dear Disgusted Parent,

It's true. On one front you have former Governor Sarah Palin, attempting to protect the heart of Christmas, as she promotes her newest book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas. Her war seems to be against angry atheists whom she calls Joe McScrooge. Palin believes these people are armed with lawyers to take the faith out of the holiday. Then you have Black Friday incidents where consumers resort to violence over discounted flat screen TVs.

Even though it’s difficult to shield our children from the reality of the world outside our homes, LA Teacher believes that the best way to raise a child is by being a positive role model for that child to emulate. The celebration of Christmas falls right into that niche.

First, explain to your child the history around Christmas. It was during the Middle Ages when a medieval monk set the date of the Nativity for December 25. This was done for political purposes. The fledgling Christian church was looking for converts and December 25 was the date of Saturnalia, a popular pagan holiday of feasting, goodwill, generosity to the poor, an exchange of gifts, and decoration of trees. (Sound familiar?) In actuality, the biblical account of Christ’s birth points to June 17 as the date, but that day wouldn’t garner converts, so December 25 became the birthdate of the Christian savior.

Next, emphasize the religious aspect of the holiday if that is what you believe. Take your child to church and teach him about loving his neighbor, helping the homeless, and showing empathy for those less fortunate than himself. It’s always best to show than tell, so go to a food bank, and as a family, donate your time. Or perhaps volunteer at a homeless shelter and collect warm blankets and coats for those in need. Your child will soon realize that this is the true meaning of the holiday.

By setting an example and establishing family traditions that exemplify the holiday, you will be teaching your child that Christmas is the time of peace, not a war.

Merry Christmas,
LA Teacher

Have a question about school or parenting? Ask LA Teacher at writinghigh2009@gmail.com or visit his website at http://www.michaelthal.com.

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