Last Christmas, my six year old son asked me why Jesus was the “Glorious Impossible.” Quickly pondering how I would explain to a six year old the virgin birth, I replied, “Go ask your mother.” Frankly, I don’t remember how I got out of explaining that one. I probably explained something about how glorious it was that Christ would leave heaven to become a man and be born in a manger. Explaining the virgin birth to a six year old is difficult to tackle, but it did remind me of a task we should not avoid – teaching our children the reason for Christmas. And it needs to stick with them the rest of their lives.
A recent graduate of our Christian school told me about an encounter she had working as a cashier. After helping a customer with a purchase, she wished the customer a “Merry Christmas.” The customer exclaimed that she was very offended. “You should say ‘Happy Holidays’.” The customer even called for the manager to express how deeply she was offended by the “Merry Christmas” greeting. It pleased me to hear that the store manager also thought the customer’s complaint was ridiculous and even sent her away with a “Merry Christmas.”
Upon hearing about the encounter, my first thought was a thankful one. Here is a graduate of our school who learned the reason for Christmas, and it stuck. But a second thought emerged. This unhappy customer participates in the traditions of Christmas and enjoys all the benefits of the Christmas season, but she rejects the reason. Does she realize there would be no enjoyable traditions were it not for Christ? Does she think that Christmas exists for our self-centered pleasures? Do our children think the same thing? They have learned the Christmas carols, and they can recite the Christmas story by heart. But have they learned that Christmas is not about them?
Understanding the virgin birth can wait, but learning the reason for Christmas cannot. Let’s teach our children how to give like Christ gave, how to love like Christ loved, and how to worship like Christ