This is the first Christmas where Eve has been old enough to start to grasp the Christmas story. As we go to church mostly every week, she has a pretty basic idea of concepts such as God, Jesus and prayers. She knows that we celebrate Christmas because it is Jesus' birthday, albeit with huge frustration that she won't actually get to open the baby Jesus window on her advent calendar for another 20 days.
One of the lesser known facts about her Mummy is that I have a degree in theology. I specialised in the Judeo-Christian tradition and can even read the New Testament in the original greek - well, maybe not now, but I managed to pass the relevant translation exam for my finals. Therefore, there are few theological concepts that I have not thought about, grappled with, and settled in my own mind.
Having an almost three year old throws new light on these. The big ones about the relationship between the God we pray to and Jesus are actually rather easy to explain. God wanted to visit us so he sent Jesus. Jesus now lives with God in heaven (along with great granddad Harry). Jesus was born as a baby and yes, he grew up and taught us lots of important things.
I am also finding that the exposure that the bible stories give to Eve on concepts such as sickness, people being nasty and death (why is it so many people kill children in biblical stories?!) are helpful in exposing her, in a gentle way, to some of the nasties in the world.
However, Eve managed to flumox me this week when we were in a taxi. "Mummy, did the Roman's kill Jesus?". This stumped me a bit. Well, firstly, which gospel are you using? They all have it in a slightly different way. Secondly, is the failure to stop something awful happening tantamount to supporting it? Finally, if ones looks into the political climate of when the gospels were written and the political as well as theological points they are trying to make then can we be sure anyway?
I ended up muttering "well, sort of" and pointing out something pink outside the cab to distract her.
For other such theological musings with children, check out this.
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