Hearing the Gospel Story for the First Time

About to go to bed at the end of a long day, I just recorded this in my handwritten journal and thought it might be a nice post for my church and church-related folks to read.

Today I read a book to Evelyn (2.5 years) called “The Gospel for Little Ones” (here) which her brother Amos (6 months) received for his Baptism on Sunday from his Nana and Papa, who are Roman Catholic.  The exact wording from the book was a little complex for her, but I was able to use a combination of what was written and the pictures to tell her the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  In our house we love quirky voices, so I developed voices for all the characters and she stayed entertained for the whole thing.

As we went through it, we talked about how Mary wanted to be Jesus’ mommy even though it would be hard.  We talked about how when Jesus was around the age that Ben is (a Sunday School friend who is about 12), he started teaching all the adults about God.  We talked about how he listened to everyone and took care of people, and taught everyone to love everyone else.  I told her that he died but then he was alive again.

Her favorite part of reading the story the first time through was asking me to tell her over and over again who each of the 12 disciples were, which was a good test for this Pastor Mom, but then as we went through it a second time at her request, she wanted to know how he was still there after he died.  When we got to the page where he was standing among his disciples again she said, “but he died?”* and quickly turned back two pages to the page where he was carrying the cross.  I told her that was the amazing thing about Jesus– that he died and then he was still alive.

I’m writing this because I want you to know that it’s never too early to try to understand what God is doing and what God has done.  She doesn’t “get it” but then again, neither do I.  But what I can see in her face when I read her the story is that she’s intrigued; she wants to know more.  I love to watch her play with the Nativity set, and I love to tell her the stories about how Jesus walked on water or how Moses floated down the river in a basket.  Who knows if she thinks these are anything different than the other hundreds of books she reads a day, but at least I know these stories will grow with her and I have planted a seed in her mind so that she will continue to learn and grow in her understanding of The Divine.

*On a slightly different note, Evelyn is more intrigued by death than I ever thought a 2 year old would be.  A few weeks ago she approached me with a toy cat and said to me “the cat is sad because his mommy died.” I was so confused.  How does she even know about death??  But I asked several other pastor-parents who told me that their kids are really aware of death too.  I think it has to do with officiating funerals and such, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but she doesn’t seem traumatized . . . just aware of it.