Jesus’ Birthday Censored?

” Christmas is about…Jesus’ Birthday,

giving to others,

reindeer, and Santa!”

This little essay came home in our first grader’s schoolwork folder last Friday.  Our youngest, Levi, is only six years old.  Just about the most adorable thing ever, right?  Doesn’t seeing a child remember the true meaning of Christmas want to melt your heart?

It wasn’t until later, Saturday evening, just three weeks from the excitement of Christmas Eve, that he showed me his assignment.  In school, the class was asked to complete the following prompt:  “Christmas is about…”  Essays are to be reprinted in our local paper, The Morgan Messenger, and posted in the hallways at the school.

NOTE ON BLUE WRITING: The blue ink on the paper was done by Levi after he brought the paper home. I attempted to explain this in a comment below. Indeed those added words in blue were done by a six year old. The black marking out of “Jesus Birtday” was done by an adult.

What you see above, is exactly how his paper was returned home.  However, I can barely bring myself to relay what an adult has added to his paper.  You see… something…,  something very disturbing happened to the creation of my child’s heartfelt telling of what Christmas is to him.  Something has been removed from my six year old’s words as he simply expressed his feelings of what Christmas is about.  He managed to capture the essence of the true meaning of Christmas amongst all the commercialism, the decorations, the hoop-la-la!  Levi stated simply the heart and soul of the season in his first thoughts.  As a parent, it is hard work to compete with Santa-side of this holy time of year, isn’t it?  The fact that he begins by remembering Jesus’ birthday makes this mama so proud.  However, you will be surprised to discover what happened to his words, “Jesus’ Birthday”.

They were edited out –  by the school.

Levi’s paper was sent home with the words “Jesus’ Birthday” marked through with several thick, black, lines.  Not a note from the teacher.  Not an explanation.  Not a comment.

Levi was devastated.  So was I.

Explain that to a child!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2:11

Now, a Monday evening after a long day at school, my brave little six year old sits curled up on my lap.  After body slamming his brother off the couch and throwing books at his sister, Levi surprisingly steals a moment to climb on my lap and cuddle – just the two of us.

It’s been quite a day for my little man.  Back to school after expressing his joy that Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday, Levi found himself in the principal’s office with the two other little guys that expressed the same.  What began as a fearful trip down the hall, Levi wondered once more if he was in trouble for his words.  Just as Friday at school, he wondered if he had done something wrong.  Although we assured Levi he did no wrong, this walk to the Principal’s Office terrified my little man.

Fortunately, unknown to him, some adult conversations had taken place.  The first graders were told that they would be able to re-write the assignment AND they would be allowed to write about Jesus.  Levi’s words to me were that “he has to do it over.”

Hummmm.  I know.  Not exactly the joy I had hoped for.  Doesn’t seem fair, does it, if I look at it from his perspective.  For now though, I think I will just sit here and hold him in my lap as long as possible (or, as long as he’ll let me – or, before he no longer fits).

Fortunately, this can be a learning opportunity for us all:  Levi, me, the school, and of course, the individual that censored a child’s Christmas paper.  It is not my intent to generate hard feelings at all; because I truely believe God has a plan in everything, right?  A tough lesson for my little boy, perhaps by hearing about it, you too can be aware of the issues at hand.  Remember, it is our constitutional right to free speech (even when you’re only six).  Also, it is one of our most basic civil liberties to be able to worship as we choose.  Cherish that, please, and don’t ever let your kids forget it.

As for a lesson, well…sometimes adults make mistakes too.  In the meantime, I thought that I would share the following publication:  just in case you find yourself in a similar situation. (I hope you don’t)!


Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved


  1. Angie Hott on December 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Dear sfcpete:
    Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas to you!
    love, a

  2. Marie on December 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Angie, it is not clear to me as to WHY the teacher crossed out the words “Jesus’ birthday.” What did the teacher give as her reasoning?

  3. Deb on December 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Angie, I want to compliment you for handling this with grace and kindness. I am so sorry this happened to your son. Thank you for sharing this with us, we need to know the challenges our children and grandchildren are facing everyday. Many reasons for standing together in prayer, and speaking the truth with gentleness and respect. Blessed Christmas to you!

  4. Angie Hott on December 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Hi Marie:
    I contacted the teacher and expressed my concern over the edits to Levi’s paper. She responded right away. It was a complete misunderstanding. She thought that the students were not allowed to include Jesus in the assignment and was planning to have them redo the paper Monday morning after explaining that writing about Jesus wasn’t allowed. She was afraid that she would get in trouble if the students included Jesus in the prompt. Before that happened, the principal met with her and explained otherwise. Praise God! In the end, she was soooo happy that Jesus could be included! :-)
    Thanks for reading the story.
    love, a

  5. Senator Clark Barnes on December 20, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Angie, you’re Christian patience, grace and courage is shown in your kind but firm handling of the situation. I am saddened that such poor judgement is being used by professional educators in my District. Our American system is based on fundamental rights. Freedom of speech is the very first Admendment, hence establishing it’s predominance in our culture. Freedom of thought is theoretically the foundation of learning. I’m concerned that any of our teachers would feel (from Administration?) that they should diminish either. Political correctness is contained in neither fundamental principle. This reinforces the importance of “the family” in providing true education to young minds!

Leave a Comment