Four-year-olds like to ask a lot of questions.
My four-year-old likes to ask a lot of questions about Jesus.
In this blessed season of Advent, Maggie is suddenly obsessed with Our Savior and everything about Him. I took her to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular: Rockettes: Magical Journey on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. (yes, all those poor ladies are up and tap dancing at that hour), and after an hour and half of fantasmical Christmas celebration, when the lights came up, the first thing Maggie said was:
“Mom. I’m pretty sure that was the real Santa. But was that the real Jesus?”
“Uh, no, definitely not,” I said. (I mean, our seats weren’t that good, so who can say. But five shows a day is a lot to ask of any infant, even the Christ Child.)
“Oh, it was a different baby,” she said, nodding. “But… was that the real Mary?”
Preschoolers have a tenuous grasp on the notions of History and Time. Maggie knows we’re about to celebrate the birthday of Baby Jesus, but then he’s also a grownup, and he’s also dead, and he’s also God, whatever that means, and she’s short-circuiting a little bit, but she’s still trying to get to the bottom of this whole Jesus thing. Unfortunately, the more questions she asks, the more I realize there’s a lot about the Jesus story that is NSFPS (not suitable for preschool).
Here were a few of yesterday’s questions:
MAGGIE: Why did the bad guys kill Jesus?
ME: Because Jesus was telling people to be nice, and they didn’t like that.
MAGGIE: But why didn’t the police stop the bad guys?
ME: Because the police and the bad guys were sort of the same people. But today, of course, policemen are your friends! Not bad guys!
MAGGIE: How did the bad guys kill Jesus?
ME: Um. I don’t remember.
MAGGIE: No. I mean what did they USE to kill Jesus?
ME: I’ll have to get back to you on that.
A few minutes later:
MAGGIE: Mommy. I think those bad guys used a CROSS to kill Jesus? Right? And it looks like this and it’s big? Did they hit Jesus on the head?
So then I get into the details of the crucifixion, against my better judgment, because I don’t see another way out. After a few minutes of that:
MAGGIE: But Mommy. How did the police get the nails in between all of Jesus’s toes? Did they have little tiny hammers?
From there, we got into an interesting conversation about how one can slowly bleed to death, and whether 33 was an “old” or “medium old” age to die, and then circled back to:
MAGGIE: But Mommy. When Jesus was borned in the stable. Where was the Christmas tree?
I’m trying to stick with the Tiny Baby Jesus part of things, if possible. To quote Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: I like the Christmas Jesus best. Eight-pound, six-ounce, newborn infant Jesus.
But with a preschooler/investigative reporter in the home, it hasn’t been easy.