Thursday 24 November 2016

That time the hotel was full...

Christmas is a-coming as the kids' school schedule keeps reminding me. Concerts, end-of-year assemblies, parties, not to mention endless "Oh I hope I get this for Christmas!"

Now it would be an understatement to say that we're not a religious family. After living in Dubai for a number of years I think my kids probably know more about Islam than Christianity. When we were in Ireland last year, our friends were talking about mass, when one of my Catholic-baptised children asked what mass was. My reply? "It's like Friday prayers, but on a Sunday and in a church rather than a mosque" which was instantly understood.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when the other day, the same child came home from school and was excitedly telling me that next week in scripture class she was pretty sure they were going to tell the same story I had told them once. Confused, I asked, which story was that. "Oh you know the one about the couple who were trying to get into the hotel? But they were all full, so they had to sleep in a shed. It's weird that they know that one too!" Yes, it seems that religious education may not be my forte.

There was also that time I overheard Lil-lil explaining to Darbs who Jesus was. "He knows everything you do, he knows when you're good or naughty. You can pray to him and ask him for things or for help. He has a beard," she carefully explained. Darbs thought for a moment and said: "That's not Jesus. That's Santa!"

So, perhaps, over the next few weeks, it's time to start talking a little more why we celebrate Christmas and what's behind the tree and tinsel and presents.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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