Rachel Pearce was worried that telling her daughter about Jesus’ death might scar her for life. Little did she know that the Easter story was about to take a surprising turn…
“At Christmas we remembered Jesus’ birthday, didn’t we? And at Easter we remember Jesus dying to save the world!”
I figured this might be a hard sell for my two-year-old. Marking a death didn’t sound half as fun as celebrating the birth of a baby… or eating brightly coloured chocolate eggs! She gave me her best superhero pose. “Can I die to save the world?”
Oh, hang on a minute. I hadn’t expected that. Just when you think you know how to put a positive spin on things for your littles, you are instantly reminded of your inadequacy.
Me: “The thing is, Jesus has already saved the world. We don’t need to do anything apart from believe in him and say sorry for the things we’ve done wrong.”
Her: “I can’t say sorry to a ghost!”
Me: “Jesus isn’t a ghost, darling. He’s real. And he came back to life again.”
Her: “Oh. Where is he now?”
Me: “He lives in our hearts if we ask him to be our friend.” I place my hand over my heart to indicate where Jesus – very much alive and not a ghost – had taken up residence.
Her: “Mummy! Jesus doesn’t live in your boobies!”
This wasn’t going well.
Me: “You’re right, darling. He lives in people’s hearts, not their boobies.”
Her: “Daddy doesn’t have boobies.”
Me: “No, and Jesus lives in Daddy’s heart.”
Case in point! I’ve totally nailed it.
Her: “Daddy has a willy. Does Jesus have a willy, Mummy?”
Why are there no parenting books on this topic? Why have I never heard a sermon on how to discuss the genitalia of a definitely-not-a-ghost, heart-dwelling, world-saving Jesus with my toddler?
Me: “Let’s ask Daddy that one when he comes home.”
Why have I never heard a sermon on how to discuss the genitalia of a definitely-not-a-ghost, heart-dwelling, world-saving Jesus with my toddler?
I wasn’t proud of the way this discussion had gone. In fact, I went over and over it my head that afternoon. What could I have said that I didn’t say? Why hadn’t there been a moment of great revelation for her? Why does everything have to be about boobies and willies?
Perhaps this sort of questioning wasn’t such a bad thing. At least she wasn’t scared to death about Jesus dying, as I’d feared. In fact, she had been interested and open. As she got older, there might be gory questions about the physical aspects of his death. Or philosophical debates about suffering and justice. One thing was for sure: I would need the Holy Spirit’s guidance every step of the way.
Not long after this, the key turned in the lock and Daddy poked his head around the door.
Her: “Daddy. Does Jesus…”
My face fell. She’s actually going to go there! I hoped beyond hope that he’d handle it better than I had.
Her: “Does Jesus live in your heart, too?”