A woman in my office helps with an annual program for her church which arranges for Christmas gifts to children who have a parent in jail. The prisoner fills out a sticker with a greeting to the child and what present they would like the child to have. Then volunteers buy the presents, wrap them, attach the sticker and the church delivers the present to the child. It’s a nice program and every year I provide a couple of gifts because I really love children and wouldn’t want any kids to go without a present at Christmas.
On the sticker that goes on the present is the following, “This gift is given to you to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” When I first saw it, I was considering various schemes to get rid of that language. Sharpie? Too obvious. Yellow sticker with different language? A possibility. I mean, I’m certainly not giving the gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus any more than to celebrate the birth of Yogi Bear. But upon further thought I realized that my name isn’t attached to the gifts. The parent’s name is.
As I was bringing the gifts into work today I was thinking about the program. If I were in jail, would the church allow me, an atheist, to participate? Would my kids get a present? Somehow I expect not. And even if they did, I doubt the “in the name of Jesus” language is optional; the church wouldn’t miss an opportunity to proselytize.
I then realized how funny the whole thing is and how backwards it must seem to evangelicals. For here we have an atheist providing a Christmas gift to a child whose (presumably) Christian parent is in jail.
So much for religion equating to morality.
Merry Christmas, Tysean and Avery. I hope you enjoy your gifts.