This is a conversation I heard. She: "Do we have a card with Jesus on it?" He: "No, we only have Christmas cards".
This exchange may go some way to explain the tragicomic results of recent research.
A survey of 2,000 UK families carried out in early December showed that a third of children aged 10-13 do not know that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus.
It’s shocking but hardly surprising, as Christ has been progressively removed from Christmas.
But the problem does not concern just kids. According to the same survey, half the population considers Jesus’s birth irrelevant to their Christmas celebrations, and only 1 adult in 10 can correctly state 4 facts about the Nativity.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that the children just reflect the ignorance and disinterest of their parents.
The research was commissioned by the campaign group Christmas Starts With Christ. Francis Goodwin, a campaigner for the group, said: “There is a problem with political correctness in schools. They think they should not focus on the Christian roots of Christmas because of inclusivity.”
Schools are becoming so “inclusive” that many of them are not putting on Nativity plays for fear of offending people of different religions, and this survey shows in very clear, ominous terms the consequences of that trend.
Then there is the research conducted by the online parenting group Netmums, which found that only 1 in 3 schools are staging a traditional Nativity play this month.
The research also unearthed that schools these days prefer to stage modern musicals instead. Almost half of them now perform “modernised” Christmas shows with footballers - which could explain the results of another survey, below - and punk fairies in place of the shepherds, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. 1 in 8 school plays will have no religious references at all, but only eco-warriors or aliens or Elvis.
If we don’t stand up for Christianity, the religion that has given birth to and sustained the West will disappear from our lands. We, or our descendants, might discover that this loss spells the end of Western civilization, as an infinite number of signs already indicate.
Another survey was conducted a few days ago at London’s Brent Cross Shopping Centre, a veritable pre-Christmas nightmarish place. The association of Christmas with shopping persists. This is most incongruous, as the materialism and acquisitiveness of which Christmas has become the expression is totally at odds with the Christian message.
In this research, more than half of 5-to-12-year-olds thought that Christmas Day is Santa Claus' birthday.
A total of 1,000 children at Brent Cross were shown an iconic image of Jesus and told that it portrayed Jesus.
Then they were asked: who is Jesus Christ?
The options were:
a) A footballer for Chelsea
b) Son of God
c) TV presenter
d) X Factor contestant
e) An astronaut.
20 per cent of the children chose a), Chelsea player.
The presence, described above, of footballers in schools' Nativity plays "made relevant" to the present day could bear some responsibility for creating this confusion in kids.
It gives an entire new meaning to “Jesus saves”, as Alex Boot shows in the satirical title of his post.