Monday, December 1, 2008

Toddler Theology

Owen and I were talking about Christmas while driving home today.

I said, "Are you excited about Christmas?"

Owen said, "Yes. Santa comes at Christmas!"

"That's right!" I said. "What else happens at Christmas?"

"I get lots and lots of presents!"

Oh dear, I think. He's two and already a little consumer. Trying to get the Christ back in Christmas, I say, "Who has a birthday on Christmas?"

Owen thinks long and hard, "Baby Joel!"

"No," I say, attempting to cram some spiritual training into Owen's day, "Baby Jesus."

"Who's that guy?"

"You know who Baby Jesus is. He made the world. And Christmas is his birthday. We say, 'Happy Birthday Jesus' on Christmas." As I say this out loud, I realize that it's such an odd thing to say and an odder thing for a toddler to understand.

Owen is silent for a few minutes. "Baby Joel's birthday?"

"No honey, Baby Jesus. You know, God's son." After all, throwing the trinity into the mix should clear everything right up for Owen. Maybe I'll explain how Lutherans believe that communion is both the actual body and blood and a symbol of it while I'm at it...

"Baby Evan's birthday?" Maybe he's linking the fact that Evan's dad is a pastor, therefore, perhaps a little more acquainted with Jesus? Am I stretching a bit here?

"No, Baby Jesus."

"Baby Austin? Baby Cara? Baby Ryan? Baby Joel? Baby Hippo?" At this point, he breaks up laughing at his own hilarity.

"No, Owen. Baby Jesus. It's his birthday on Christmas."

"Oh." He's silent for a moment. I have a new appreciation for anybody who teaches preschool Sunday School. It's really, really hard to make something that I'm still puzzling over make sense to a toddler. Owen speaks up, "Mommy?"

"Yes dear?"

"Can we have rainbow cake for Baby Jesus's birthday?"

Maybe it's just that easy. "Sure, honey."

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