First off, let me thank my sister-in-law for telling my daughter what was in that sauce container that comes with the apples. She told me she needed her “Cow Mom El” sauce that Auntie gives her. Well, we made it a few years on naked apples, but the proverbial cat is out of the bag!
But that’s not what I really wanted to tell you about. An older gentleman (“He looks like Pop!” Kourey says) handed me something and asked me to give it to Kourey, then wished us a Merry Christmas. I looked in my palm; it was a penny with a cross punched out. Kourey was entranced. I thought it was a good segue into a dinner conversation where I did a little “spiritual checkup” on my four year old.
Why is the cross important? Because it’s where Jesus died. Why is that important? Because it was like taking all the spankings (trying to explain substitutionary atonement in preschool terms, this what stuck. I’ll go with it!) Tell me about what happened after that. Well, Jesus is not dead, He’s alive! And He’s really God.
What are we celebrating now? Um, chicken nuggets? Let me try that again, what do we celebrate at Christmas? Ohhhhh! Jesus was BORN! He was born in a manger.
(OK, substitutionary atonement aside, that was pretty basic stuff, time to see what details of the Christmas story she knows, which she doesn’t, and most importantly, which I need to straighten out!)
Do you know where Jesus was born? I just told you, in a MANGER! OK, right. Do you know what TOWN Jesus was born in? Um [thoughtfully munching on an apple] well… [lightbulb] I know! Bethlehem! That’s right! You are so smart. Do you know Jesus’ mom’s name? Yes, Mary. “Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water…” Please don’t sing so loud and at the table. But that’s right, and we can sing that song before bed. Do you know Mary’s husband’s name? Um, Jesus? Um GOD! Because Jesus is God’s son! (this would be one of those check up points for straightening out. I’ll bring you back into the story where Kourey says…) OK, so Joseph was the name of Mary’s husband. Got it. And he was with the shepherds.
How did the shepherds get there? They walked. OK, you’re probably right. But how did they know about Jesus? And where He was? The angels told them! And they went [mimes running] to see Jesus!
Did anyone else come to see Jesus? Three wise men. OK, how did THEY know where to find Jesus? Ummmm… more angels? (straightening out part two: the star)
At this point I still had some time, and thought Kourey was doing pretty well, so we would add a new chapter to her compendium of Christmas story knowledge: King Herod. After trying to be accurate, but appropriate for four-year-olds (“… King Herod was actually afraid of Jesus, because he thought Jesus would try to take away his kingdom”), Kourey asked when Herod stopped being afraid of Jesus.
Well, he didn’t. In fact, he made a rule that all the baby boys that might be Jesus had to be killed. WHAT?! He tried to KILL JESUS?!?! That is… that is… that is so… RUDE!!!
As my friend Betty pointed out, that is what you call righteous indignation!
As a side note, when looking for pictures of a cross-punched-penny, I found the site CrossPennyMinistries.com, who will send you punched pennies for just the cost of the penny and shipping. So for $20.50 you can get 1500 pennies and the punched crosses (you can get less pennies, but they use the $5.50 flat rate shipper for up to 1500). That is really cool!