‘Fury as primary school tells pupils to say “Baby Boy Jesus” instead of “Lord Jesus” while singing Away In A Manger so that pupils of all faiths can join in.’ (Daily Mail)
‘School slammed by Christians after changing “Lord Jesus” lyric in Away in a Manger.’ (Daily Star)
‘Parents Outraged as London School Downgrades Jesus from “Lord” in “Away in a Manger”‘ (CBN News)
These were some of the headlines a few weeks ago, when it was learned that children at Whitehall Primary School in Chingford, Essex, had been told by their head teacher to not to sing ‘little Lord Jesus’, but rather, ‘baby boy Jesus’.
This was not the only change. In the carol ‘Love Shone Down’ the words ‘Jesus the saviour’ were altered to ‘Jesus the baby’, and in ‘Come and Join the Celebration’ the words ‘a new King born today’ were jettisoned in favour of ‘a baby born today’.
All of which brings to mind the complaint of Mary Magdalene, heard towards the end of the Gospel story:
‘They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.’ (John 20:2)
What of the response of Christian spokespersons?
A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford, which includes St Peter and St Paul Church, said: ‘The service maintains the traditional Christian message of the joy of Christmas in a way that can be celebrated by everyone, including those of other faiths and none.’
No it doesn’t. In order to include ‘those of others faiths and none’ it excludes the central message of Christmas.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Bishop of Rochester, more helpfully responded: ‘This is a carol known throughout the world. The words ‘Lord Jesus’ are about the central message of Christmas, which is that God is with us in Jesus. To put it very simply that’s what Christmas is about.’