To Teach a Child

So much of our understanding of life and how it works is colored by our knowledge or presuppositions. For instance, death. You and I know about this. We understand what death is and how it affects us. Sometimes we can kind of understand the omnipresent aspect of God’s nature, or His realness without being seen. Here’s another humdinger–try reading a story to a two-year old about a bear that eats the mean fox. This makes the fox gone. And it probably hurts…And by the way, babies? Inside their moms? Don’t even get me started.

I’m discovering that it’s much more complicated to teach Violet certain facts of life than I anticipated. I knew she would come to me with no knowledge or understanding other than instinctual, but I didn’t really understand what that would look like. I am also noticing that things that I find hard to believe or understand are not necessarily difficult for her. Maybe I over-complicate them when I explain because they seem so preposterous to me. Not preposterous…just requiring a great deal of faith. Who is God? What does He look like? Where is He? How is He everywhere at the same time? For me to understand these things requires faith, which comes preciously small and hard-won to me–like a tiny jar-full that I keep closed when walking so it doesn’t spill. Violet on the other hand, comes chock-full of faith to make up for her lack of knowledge. The difference seems proportionate. With this in mind, I have to be careful not to let my lack of faith sap her spiritual strengths when I’m clumsily trying to explain something hard. Not “lack of faith” but perhaps just a much more desperate need for faith.

That’s the beautiful thing about a child at Christmas. We celebrate the virgin birth of the child of God. We celebrate sinless God becoming flesh and living among us. We celebrate angels appearing as God’s messengers, we celebrate in the preparation for Christmas and remember how the world longed for a Savior. We celebrate the choice of His sacrifice and the gift of His sinless life.

So many beautiful “teachable moments” in this season. Now, just the grace to teach them.

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