Read Deuteronomy 6:6-7
A year or so ago, I bought my now two-year-old son his first Bible. It is a beatifully illustrated Bible, with 365 short, five-minutes readings.
We made a habit of reaidng it before he went to bed, even though he did not understand it much. Each night, he looked forward to daddy reading it for him before he went to bed.
But good habits are hard to keep. My boy insisted on reading the Bible himself, which meant, flipping through the pages and talking about the drawings. I also had to work late for a while, and sometimes he would not go to sleep until I had read himi several stories.
But as time went on, he developed a new habit with his mom: listening to stories before he went to bed. Mommy now tells him stories before he goes to bed: Goldielocks, the three little pigs, the giger bread man, and others.
Some time ago, after mommy told him a story, he asked daddy to tell him a story; and Daddy told him a story about how one of our dogs, Miss Maya, became part of the family six years ago.
Then a few nights ago, he wanted daddy to tell him a story again. This time the Lord put it in my heart that I should tell him the Christmas story, the real Christmas story.
My son has been asking about Santa Claus because he’s seen him on TV, but mommy and daddy have made it clear that Santa Claus is not real: he is just a part of a story like the three little pigs and Paw Patrol.
So this time, daddy told him the real Christmas story. Obviously, I had to ommit certain details, like Mary was a virgin, and she could have gotten stoned; Joseph thought about leaving Mary and the baby Jesus; and evil Herod wanted to know where baby Jesus was born so he could find him and kill him. I did not leave out these details because it wrong to know them, but because they are beyond his age: they are topics that require maturity, and thus they are not fit for a toddler.
Here, I would like to share with you the simple version of the Christmas story I shared with him. I hope it will inspire you to find creative ways to tell Bible stories to your young children.
My Version of the Christmas Story
A long time ago, in a coutry far away, in the land of Israel, there lived a young woman named Mary.
Mary was going to become the wife of a man named Joseph. She and Joseph were going to live together and form a family.
But before they formed a family, an angel came to her. This angel did not have wings, but he did glow. The angel’s name was Gabriel.
At first, Mary was afraid of the angel, but then the angel told her not to be afraid. He had good news for her: she was going to have a baby boy!
This baby boy was the Son of God, and his name was Jesus. One day, Jesus would grow up and be the king of Israel and the world.
Mary praised God and gave him thanks. She was very happy because God had chosen her and Jospeh to take care of God’s Son.
The angel also appeared to Joseph in a dream, and he told him to take care of Mary and of baby Jesus.
Mary and Joseph then had to make a long trip to a city called Bethlehem, and Jesus was born while they were on the trip. They couldn’t find a place to stay, so they had to stay in a stable, where there were all sorts of animals: cows, sheep, goats, and chikens. Probably even a little dog and a cat!
After Jesus was born, several angels appeared to a group of shepherds (men who take care of sheep).
The angels told the shepherds that the Son of God had been born in Bethlehem, and that they would find him in a manger.
And so it was: when the shepherds arrived the Bethelehem and they came to the manger, they found Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Then they came close to baby Jesus, the Son of God, and they worshipped him.
A few months later, some very wise men came from a far away land. They said that when the baby was born, a very bright star had appeared in the sky, and they knew that the Son of God had bene born.
They asked a king called Herod where the Son of God had been born. Herod did not know, so he asked some rabbis where the Son of God was born. The rabbis knew where the Son of God was born because they read it in the Bible, and they said he was born in Bethelehem.
The shepherds then went out of Herod’s palace, and the star appeard again. This time, the star was going ahead of them to show them where the baby was.
When the shepherds arrived to where Jesus was, they gave him gifts: gold, frankincese, and myrrh. They wroshipped the Son of God, and then they left back to their country.
Questions for Reflection
- Why is it important for you to teach your own children about God, Jesus, and the Bible?
- How do you teach your own children about God, Jesus , and the Bible?
- Why could it be important for children to understand we believe in Jesus and we do not believe in Santa Claus?
- Why is it important to teach our children about God, Jesus, in the Bible in a manner that is approrpriate for their age?
Father in heaven, help me as I seek to teach my son about you and your Son. Open his heart and his understanding to your word. May he grow to be a God-fearing man who will love you, walk in your ways, and serve you. May he teach others about you, and may I also teach others about you.
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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.