'More than the South Pole and Santa'
A new Christmas resource that aims to share the real Christmas story with thousands of children has been launched
The Scripture Union resource The First Christmas is a retelling of the real Christmas story by award winning author Gemma Willis and illustrated by celebrated artist Grace Alton.
It has been produced in response to worrying statistics suggesting that many children have little or no understanding of the nativity story. In a recent study, 35 per cent of the children asked believed that Jesus was born at the South Pole, 52 per cent stated that the 25th December was Santa’s birthday and one in five children thought Jesus Christ was a footballer for Chelsea FC.
Tim Hastie-Smith, National Director for Scripture Union England & Wales said, 'With the lack of engagement in the Christmas story, it is little wonder that few children know that Christmas is about the birth of a saviour who can give meaning and purpose to their lives.
'This amazing resource is a book that children will not only read, but are sure to treasure - whatever their faith.'
More than 100,000 copies of the resource have been printed and the charity aims to share the book with as many children as possible this Christmas. Through partnerships with a number of Christian organisations,The First Christmas will also be received by around 80,000 disadvantaged children for whom Christmas is likely to be a difficult season - particularly those spending Christmas in hospital, those with a parent in prison and those whose families find it hard to make ends meet.
The Trussell Trust and Christians Against Poverty (CAP) will distribute copies along with Christmas hampers for children whose families are struggling financially. The Prison Fellowship will give copies as gifts to children of prisoners through their Angel Tree programme, and many hospitals will also ensure that the sick and injured children in their care receive copies.
Tim said, 'We are delighted that so many key partners have joined with us to get this message of hope out to some of the most vulnerable children in our nation. As Pastor Rick Warren says, the birth of Jesus means ‘Peace with God, peace with others, and peace in your own heart.’ Sharing that story of hope is surely the most precious gift we can give to a child at Christmas.'
The launch of the resource is the latest initiative to support the organisation’s, 95 Campaign, which was launched earlier this year and focuses on the alarming statistic suggesting that 95 per cent of children and young people don’t go to church.
Order your free copy of The First Christmas now by joining The 95 campaign at www.the95.org.uk or by calling 01908 856000.