We went out in Chestnut Hill last night. They were having a Christmas shopping event, where all of the stores stayed open late, carolers roamed and you could even get roasted chestnuts. Which were surprisingly good.
Anyway, we met our dear friend Kirsten (aka Dr. Kiki) there. This is us (excuse the blurriness, we just bought a new lens and are still trying to figure it out):
Anyway, at some point, Kirst asked Raines about Baby Jesus. To which Raines replied, “Who?”
I guess this really isn’t all that surprising considering that Mike and I are both non-believers…and the only time we typically go to church is on Christmas Eve and Easter to appease my father. But still. Jesus is pretty much the most important historical figure of all time, the reason for the season, and, even taken at face-value as a man, teaches a much more powerful lesson than Raines’ current hero:
Kirst, who has enviably strong faith, gave me the eye. I suspect a book is in our future.
In any case, one of the books Raines wanted to read tonight before bed was actually a Christmas song book. He’d point to a song, I’d sing it. So fun. One of the songs he pointed to was Away in the Manger and had an illustration of Baby Jesus.
“Who is that?” Raines asked me.
“Ummm…Baby Jesus.” I replied.
“Ok” said Raines.
We stared at each other.
“Do you know who that is?” I asked.
Raines squirmed – clearly, he recognized the name, and felt some pressure to know…but didn’t actually know. “Nooooo….” he giggled a bit.
“Do you want to hear his story?” I asked.
“YES!” said Raines.
Gulp. I started….”OK…some people believe….um…well. So there’s God, right? I mean, some people believe that there is a God…who, uh….lives in the sky? And watches over us?”
I started to sweat. Raines just stared at me.
“Ok – so anyway, God decided to have a son. So he…um….put his son – no. He uh….Remember when I was pregnant with Pax? And my belly got so big?”
“Ok – so God picked this woman Mary to get pregnant with his son, Jesus. So Jesus’s Dad is God.”
“Hercules’ Dad is a God.” said Raines.
“Yes! Yes he was. So it’s kinda the same thing. So anywa-”
“JESUS IS LIKE HERCULES?” Raines asked excitedly.
“Why is he wrapped up like that?” Raines points to the pictured of the swaddled Jesus.
“Well, little babies like to be all wrapped up in blankets. And see the cows? And the sheep? Poor Mary had to give birth in a barn because all of the hotels were full. And they had been walking and walking and walking a long way.”
“Where were they going, Mom?”
“Ummmm….” (it turns out I have no idea.) “Well, there was an evil King who wanted to kill them!” I improvise.
Raines’ eyes widen.
“So they were running away from this evil King. But Mary was too tired to walk anymore – just like I used to be – remember? When my belly was SO big and I couldn’t walk with you and we’d have to take breaks?”
Raines nods, totally into the story.
“Just like that. So Mary was tired, and the baby was coming. And there was no room at any hotel. So she laid down in a barn, next to the goats, and cows, and sheep.”
“A BARN???” Raines is incredulous.
“Yup. And she had Baby Jesus in the barn. And they say that when he was born…a…uh…angel, uh…appeared…somewhere…no, maybe a star. No! Wait! There was an angel who appeared to these wise men guys….and told them that God had a son named Jesus. So these guys came to bring Baby Jesus presents.”
I think I’m starting to lose him. And I can’t blame him – I’m losing myself. It’s amazing how once you have kids you realize how little you actually know. Suddenly he busts out with:
“Is he dead?” Raines face is serious.
“Baby Jesus? Yes. He did die. Sort of.”
Raines makes a sad face.
“So here’s the big part of the story: Because he’s God’s son, God made him come back to life and then come up and live with God in the clouds…in a special place called heaven.”
“WHAT?????” “HE COME BACK TO LIFE????” Raines is very excited at this turn of events. “I DIDN’T KNOW THAT!!” he exclaims, arms out-stretched.
We smile at each other. Raines thinks for a second.
“Baby Jesus is magic, Mom. That how he come back to life. It was that star that gave him the power. VROOOOOOMSH. Like that. Magic.”
Aaaaand now my child is quoting Sarah Silverman. Alrighty then. I think we’re good here. (But funny how a three-year-old’s honest assessment of the situation is pretty darn accurate.)
ps. We did have some small discussion after that about how Jesus was a very nice man, who taught everyone to help out the sick and the poor, and to take care of each other…but R was pretty much over it by then.
I always think it’s funny you say you are not a believer. Yet, you always want to go to church on holidays. I believe and I don’t even want to be at church on Christmas eve.. I think you are a closet Jesus lover. It’s okay to have faith. 🙂 I prayed to himone time b/c I was worried about my friend and it worked out. So booyah!
I love church – especially during the holidays. The sense of community is so strong – something that really hasn’t been replicated anywhere else. And I love the passion Christians bring to help others – the outreach churches do both in their communities and abroad is mind-boggling. And I do believe…in something….just still trying to figure out what that is. 🙂
ps. I think Jesus rocked – pretty Zen at heart, really. What’s not to like?
I love you and your family! I think the conversation started after Raines showed me a train in a window display outside the tavern, in the display there was also a manger scene…(oh and you are right about the book)