(In the last
issue of TCFNews for 2006 I wrote about teaching about Christmas. Steve
Howes replied with the following letter and suggestions.)
CHRISTMAS IN SCHOOLS
I greatly appreciate your work with TCF and especially your recent
articles about Christmas. In Bathurst next February in our annual
training morning for SRE volunteers we will have a session on the place
of SRE in schools and photocopies of your first article will be
provided to all participants. It seems to provide a concrete case study
in the operation of SRE and GRE.
I would like to follow up your articles with a comment about possible
content for Christmas lessons. Many teachers, parents and indeed upper
primary pupils welcome appreciative input about other cultures. So why
not include material about how Christians of other cultures celebrate
Christmas? As an example, you may be interested in a skit (for either
classroom or assembly) and a worksheet about Christians in Sulawesi
that I have included in Term 4 SRE lessons I give 6th classes over the
past few years. (The information comes from Peter and Marcelle Rogers
who served the church in Sulawesi for years through CMS. Peter is now
Rector of the Anglican church in Newtown.) I am sure other returned
“missionaries” could provide similar information from other cultures.
Why should kids go away thinking that Christmas is for westerners?
CHRISTMAS IN INDONESIA
The 25th December is one of the public holidays in Indonesia. Other
public holidays are for Muslims. Christians there keep celebrating the
birth of Jesus until the middle of January.
They don’t give each other presents, there is no Santa like we see, and
they don’t have a Boxing Day. But they do have lots of fun as they
visit the homes of friends and eat together in the weeks after
Christmas Day. Instead of Christmas pudding they eat rice and chicken
On Christmas morning the Christians in Sulawesi in Indonesia meet in
their churches and sing carols in their own language. Then they might
take out children who are orphans for a meal. They will eat together in
their church building or some might go off to KFC as a special treat.
What are three ways in which Christmas is different for Christians in
Why wouldn’t they eat hot Christmas pudding?
How would a church meeting in Indonesia sound different from an
What is the word for boy and girl without any mother or father?
Here are some words form the Indonesian Bible about the birth of Jesus.
gembala = shepherds, domba-domba = sheep, malam = night, padang =
paddock, malaikat = angel, messenger form heaven.
Draw a picture of some gembala while they are looking after their
domba-domba in a padang during one malam when some malaikat suddenly
CHRISTMAS IN SULAWESI
(Needs two males, two females plus a narrator – a bunch of bananas on a
table of vegetables.)
NARRATOR: Amat and Mariam are husband and wife who are Christians. They
live in a town on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. It is the middle
of December and they are starting to think about Christmas.
AMAT: It will be Christmas Day next week.
MARIAM: Yes, Amat. Who should we invite this year?
AMAT: How about Marni? Her mother died six months ago? Do you remember
her father? He was killed at work last year?
MARIAM: That’s right. We should ask Marni and her friend Ana as well.
AMAT: Yes, let’s invite them. They both have a hard life.
NARRATOR: On the next day, in the town market, Amat and Mariam see
Marni and Ana buying bananas.
AMAT: Hello Marni, hello Ana. Our family is celebrating Christmas next
week. Would you like to join us?
MARNI: Thank you Amat. Thank you Mariam.
ANA: We would like to go to church with you and listen to your songs.
MARNI: Will you have any plays like last year?
MARIAM: Yes, we love to put on plays that tell about how Jesus was born.
MARNI: Will you have a meal in your church after?
AMAT: Most of us share our chicken and rice when we eat together in
MARIAM: But this year we can afford a special treat. We want to take
you to KFC!!
MARNI: Really? I have never been to KFC.
ANA: Thank you so much. Thank you! Thank you!
NARRATOR: Marni and Ana run off home with their bananas, very excited.