Today three of my kids asked me a series of questions about Jesus. Why He died, how it happened, what it means that He's alive, is He on the cross still? Man oh man these kids are wild. All of this started because I put on some YouTube videos of Nichole Nordeman songs. The video for "Why" (seriously, go look it up) features images from The Passion of the Christ. They're used to seeing Jesus on the Cross. We're Catholic so we have some crucifixes in our house. I think what caught their attention was that the still images of Jesus were bloody, and looked painful. My first instinct was to turn off the video as quickly as I could, but before I had a moment to turn off the screen the questions started. The song moved on to another but the questions didn't last.
For some of the morning and all of the afternoon (after a nap which clearly reinvigorated their minds) I answered question after question. Some were repeated, a clear request for clarification. I pondered briefly just asking them to drop it, putting on some Sesame Street, and hoping that I wouldn't have to deal with the weight of the task. I have no problem with the kids knowing about Jesus. I delight in their innocent desire to know as much as possible about this man who they already loved, even without understanding the story of Salvation. I was just scared that I wasn't up to the task, that the words I used wouldn't be good enough, that I would confuse them, that they wouldn't understand. For all my fears, I felt a push to tell them everything I could, in whatever way I could, to help them know how much God loved them.
I won't bore you with all the details, but for the sake of clarity, I ended up telling the story of the life of Christ, from the Annunciation, to the Nativity, to the Sermon on the Mount (or at least the important details of God's love in the preaching of Christ), to the Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. They sat with rapt attention, peppering me with question, teasing out more details than I had planned to tell them. Their active little minds, taking turns pushing the story a little further, trying to make sense of why a good man would be punished for the wrongs of all.
In the end, I don't know how much they understood, but I know that we have built a bit more of a foundation for their faith. The most incredible thing about any child is that when you tell them something, they'll believe you. Because you are their parent and they love you, they have no concept that you'd lie to them. As they get older I know they'll ask more tough questions, and I hope that I'll be able, by the grace of God, to rise to the task. I would hate to betray their trust by giving them anything less than the absolute Truth. Whatever they didn't understand today they will understand better as they older. They are happy to take the rest on Faith. And it renews my Faith to see what Jesus meant when He said we should have Faith like a child.