There are three "Nativity" scenes in the window of a local charity shop. They were placed there by the staff before the shop closed until the New Year. One of them is a particularly lovely hand carved wooden set, there is another old china set and a third more recent set.
None of them are for sale. The staff save them to put out each year. I hope that won't stop. Whether you believe the story or not there is good in it, lessons we need to learn about family and caring for each other.
But, as I was passing, I heard a woman saying to her three children, "Come on. You don't need to look at that rubbish. They shouldn't be allowed to put that sort of thing in the window."
Someone I know was coming towards me at the same time and also heard the woman's comments. We stopped for a moment to exchange seasonal greetings and I was told,
"She's the one who stopped them having Christmas at school - put in a complaint to the head and they had to cancel out all the Christmas bits."
"Again?" I asked.
"Yes - only she got more stroppy this time and insisted on even more being cut out. It's not fair on the other children."
There are children attending the school who belong to a strict religious sect which does not allow their children to join in a great many activities but their parents do not demand those activities do not take place. They simply remove their children while an activity is being held.
That solution is not good enough for this mother. She has very clear ideas about what she considers to be "politically correct". She does not want her children to experience some things. In order for that to happen she demands that nobody else be allowed to experience them either. She apparently sees nothing wrong with this at all. I have talked with one of the senior staff at the school and they are concerned by the situation but, unbelievably, the law comes down on the side of the mother.
We had Christmas parties and Nativity plays and carol singing when I was at school. There were one or two children who might have missed out but everyone else joined in with enthusiasm. Nobody thought it necessary for the sake of "political correctness" to stop these things.
But the interesting thing to me was that the mother sailed on ahead and all three children gave one last longing look at the Nativity scenes. I hope that, when they are old enough to make their own decisions about such things, they will decide that the lessons from the story matter more than their mother's ideas about "political correctness".