A Christian charity has stirred controversy as it omitted Bible references from its new Nativity booklet that told the Christmas story so as not to confuse kids who do not go to church and have no knowledge of the birth of Jesus Christ.
In the past years, the Scripture Union's annual book about the Christmas story had included Bible references. However, this year, the charity has decided to release a simplified version of the Nativity booklet instead. Church and community fundraising manager Jennifer Babb explained that they had opted for the slimmer version so as to remove the "barrier" for children who have little background about the real history of Christmas, The Telegraph relayed.
"We wanted to create something new this year that was specifically designed for the audience of children who might not know the real Christmas story," said Babb. "This is all part of our work to invite children and young people to explore the difference Jesus can make to the challenges and adventures of life."
In addition, Babb said past surveys have showed that many children do not know much about the Christmas story. A 2014 poll found that one out of three children from 10 to 13 years old did not know it was Jesus Christ's birth that was being observed on Christmas. Data from the Children's Society in 2013 also revealed that one out of 10 kids thought Dec. 25 was a celebration of Santa Claus' birthday.
The new booklet by Gemma Willis details Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and how Jesus was born. The scenes deleted from the latest version include the appearances made by the shepherds and the wise men, the family's move to Egypt, and their first temple visit.
Last month, the Scripture Union made headlines for offering a Christian alternative to the Halloween celebrations. The charity introduced "light parties" during the holidays to remind Christians that light always shines through the darkness, The Guardian reported.
The Scripture Union believes that light parties are a good way to connect with children who do not go to church. The charity promotes a light party advice pack which churches and youth groups can download for its activities.