How far should you go in sharing the truth about the Nativity? Disclaimer: This is a PG-13 post.
I understand the importance of what might be considered appropriate content for a pre-schooler in many Bible stories. Perhaps we won’t cover the Song of Solomon in our small groups this weekend. Can we go over the near-annhiliation of mankind in the Noah’s ark story? Boy, that would look great on a nursery wall. We can’t mention all of the “gory details” all the time.
What about the truth of the Nativity? Have you really considered the dirty, naughty details? What should you share with your kids? For example, a kids ministry leader might be “pulled aside” when a parent gets this question from their pre-schooler in the car on the way home: “Mommy, what’s a virgin?”
Here’s the dirt on the Nativity:
Herod was murdering babies because he knew that the Messiah was promised through the bloodline of David.
The Romans had a relentless system of taxing its citizens that caused many to have to travel great distances over dangerous terrain just to “check-in.”
Mary, a very young teenager, not only became pregnant, but was faced with the challenge of convincing people that she had never had sex with anyone.
Joseph, who was going to marry her anyway, was faced with the dilemma of going through with it while also convincing people that he never had sex with Mary, despite her pregnancy.
They were broke.
They were alone.
They couldn’t get a single room (no Travelocity).
The had no choice but to sleep outside in a very unsanitary environment with the smell, animal feces, and creepy crawlies. Can you imagine having a baby in that setting?
Really scary creatures (angels) were involved in announcing this arrival to some very frightened grown men.
So what part of that story is safe for children? Just like with Noah’s story, the big picture has to be considered. The details can come later — maybe later in their life.
Here’s what Christmas is all about, and this idea is very safe for children of all ages.
Since the beginning of creation, people have shown over and over again that we can’t handle great responsibilities. We fail to be obedient to God. We sin. He constantly pursues us. We tend to like that, but usually end up turning our backs to Him. Our very patient God had planned all along to become one of us at some point. Even though he was fully God, he became a person: Jesus.
Jesus was sent to rescue us…to save us. It would be a little harder to turn our backs to him when he’s actually standing in front of us. He could have arrived from the clouds with parades and armies to guide his path. Instead, he chose to show us that, if the Creator of the universe is able to humble himself, simply by becoming a man, then perhaps we would be willing to live in humility toward each other. He stepped into our dirty, filthy, naughty earth to demonstrate how much He truly loves us. Finally, the life of Jesus ended with His own sacrifice that allows us to be forgiven eternally.
Jeffrey Reed serves as the Director of Kids Ministry for Lifeway. He came to Lifeway with a wide variety of ministry experiences including worship leader, director of children’s ministry, and executive leadership in several growing congregations. Jeffrey’s posts will give your heart and brain a workout, just like the fitness Boot Camp he leads in the mornings for Lifeway employees. Jeffrey and his wife Katherine have 4 kids.