“Who is God’s Son?” asked seven-year-old L., her face crunched in confusion after she spoke her Christmas program lines with the other children.
“God’s Son is Jesus, our Savior,” I responded quickly as the practice continued. Not a regular to our church, L.’s third visit with her grandparents involved rehearsing for our Sunday school Christmas program. She had enjoyed the previous class where we practiced songs and hand motions, but this time L. questioned the content.
After L. squeezed her question in between songs, preschool teacher Debbie and I looked at each other in heartfelt surprise and silent agreement. This was our purpose as Sunday school volunteers: to teach children about Jesus. Both of us had different jobs during rehearsal: we watched, assisted, and tried to keep kids focused. One boy picked his nose. A girl kept her head down as she adjusted her snow boots. Some of the littles ran off. One boy kept sitting down instead of standing up. Like herding cats, Debbie and I managed to get our kids to the manger at the right time.
Before the church service, I caught up with L. I explained that Jesus is God’s Son, our Savior, who came to earth as a baby. L. listened intently as I told her about Jesus and why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday at Christmas.
When I asked her about Easter, she said, “That’s my favorite holiday!” I went on to explain that the baby Jesus we celebrate at Christmas grew up to be a man. As an adult, Jesus did what God had sent His Son to do: die on a cross to sacrifice Himself for our sins. And that is what we celebrate at Easter. My explanations were not detailed or eloquent. I wondered if the big concepts of forgiveness and death on a cross were getting through to L. Eyes focused on me, L. kept her face close to mine, her attention unwavering.
After my short explanations, L. raced off to sit with her grandparents for the service. I followed her into church, praying for the Holy Spirit to open her heart to Jesus. Later, I texted her grandmother about L.’s questions and my answers. She texted me that L. would not be able to come to the program.
The next Sunday, God answered our prayers, and L. came to the dress rehearsal and program with her grandparents. Before the dress rehearsal, our director scrambled to find an extra angel costume. She used a preschooler’s costume, un-hemmed it to fit L., and gave the preschooler a sparkly top as a tunic. During a break, I had a chance to speak with L. again. We discussed more about God’s Son and how Jesus became our Savior by dying on the cross for our sins. I explained that sin is disobeying God in our thoughts, words, and actions—and how we can ask Jesus for forgiveness. Again, she listened intently to my explanations. Again, I left praying that the Holy Spirit would make the Gospel clear to L.
After rehearsing during Sunday school, the children presented their Christmas program at the church service that followed. Nose-picking-boy kept his fingers out of his nose. Girl-with-boots wore regular shoes and danced to the music. Our runners stayed in place, while acting out the phrase, “Shepherds ran to see the sight.” The kids harnessed their energy into hand motions and song lyrics. But those are insignificant victories in light of the important story of God’s Son Jesus. L. participated wholeheartedly as the truths about Jesus, from cradle to resurrection, were presented in the children’s Christmas program.
Lord, please work in the lives of L. and others who need to understand the truth about God’s Son Jesus, this Christmas and always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Photos by author.]