My daughters used to attend Sunday School every Sunday. I was more likely to let them play hooky, only because I could hardly sit in church for an entire hour without agitating all the church ladies by my swinging leg and picking the polish off my fingernails. But I wanted the kids to know the Bible stuff, the God stuff, the prayer stuff, at least be educated - when they are old enough, they can decide what to investigate, what to believe in.
When my oldest was 8, she was absolutely fascinated by Jesus. We’d drive by a nativity scene on a rotary at Christmas, adhere to the 25 mpg speed limit along the outer edge of the circle five times, so she could glimpse Jesus over and over again. Every time we’d find ourselves within a mile of that rotary, she’d yell "Let's go see Jesus!!!!" When I tell you I found the secret to make this kid’s day, I REALLY mean it - I found the secret to making her day.
There's a children's book about the history of the candy cane and part of that history is that when you turn a candy cane upside down, it becomes a "J" for Jesus. She thought that was pretty neat-o. What she didn't understand was the explanation in the book for the red and white stripes...that the red was symbolic for Jesus' blood running down his body when he was crucified. HOLY COW! Her questions about "why were all those people mean to him?" and "will I die?" began to flow. (don't ask me how I answered them because I don't think I could repeat my simple child-appropriate answers back to her without freaking out)
At the mall there was a kiosk of beautiful hand carved miniatures, of the last supper, Jesus on the cross, the nativity, Mary and Joseph and the donkey traveling along a dirt road. This kiosk took priority over Build-a-Bear, the hermit crab kiosk, even McDonalds.
Once in a toy section of a shop in Boston, we came across a display of action figures. Later during lunch with friends, my eldest yelled, "Guess what action figure I saw today!" Everyone guessed…."Superman?" No. "Batman?" No. "Wonderwoman? Bionic Man? Spiderman? Stretch-man?" Noooooooooo.
My little girl stood up on her seat, stretched her arms out wide and with a big grin on her face yelled "JESUS!!!!!!"
Yes, in fact, there were actions figures of Jesus. I bought her one for her birthday that year. He still hangs around in the kitchen - and he has wheels.
Even better though, at Christmas a few years ago, we were out walking around in the newly fallen snow and went into a quaint Christmas shop. Room after room after room of Christmas stuff. A snowman room. A Santa room. A crystal room. A caroler room. A Nativity room. A Christmas train room. Wait....A NATIVITY ROOM!!!!! Of course, we spent some time there, checking out “all the Jesus-es”, as my daughter continuously marveled.
Obviously, we had to come home with a nativity, which we did. Beautifully handcrafted and painted tin nativity manger, along with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three wise men, some cows, sheep and a donkey.
For weeks leading up to Christmas, at some point each day, I’d hear this little voice calling from the other room "Hey! HEY! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY! Anyone wanna play JESUS???"