This is Day 25 in a 31 day series on Teaching Toddlers Theology. To catch up on where we've been, or view our menu of posts, go to this intro post.
Last Christmas was the first year Titus began to learn about Jesus!
He had just turned two. I knew this was my first chance to introduce him to Jesus at the logical starting spot- his birth! Once the Christmas season began, I used every opportunity to teach him, and I tried to think of lots of creative fun ways for him to want to learn and talk about Jesus. We read the story in his Bible, he started learning the song "Away in a Manger" as he prepared for his first Christmas program, and the most fun, was the perfect nativity play set I looked high and low for! (Thanks, Grandma!) Of course his favorite figures were the animals, but he also was particularly drawn to that small baby! As we played together, we acted out the story of that first Christmas, and talked about how special the baby in the manger was! He was so special that the angels sang about him to the shepherds, the shepherds came and worshiped, and the wise men came to worship and bring gifts! Jesus was a gift from God, and one day he was going to save us all!
Christmas is coming quickly again... (2 months from today!) It's such a perfect time to teach who Jesus is, if we are purposeful about it and don't let the busyness of the season distract us from imparting the reason for the season on our little ones. They are only little for a short time, and you get only a couple Christmases while they are toddlers! This is your first chance to start teaching who Jesus is! Make their first Christmases count!
Last year, I know that Titus probably didn't understand what the big deal was about Jesus! Sure, he learned about Jesus, but He was just a baby to him, nothing more. But that was just the start, and I was content with that. After Christmas was over, Titus continued to sing Away in a Manger and turn to the Christmas story in his Bible. That beginning in his understanding has lead to his expanded understanding throughout this past year! Since we had a few months until Easter, that gave him time to develop a little more, and then he started to learn that the same Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and rose again! Easter was even more fun because of the groundwork that was laid in his heart and mind last Christmas.
I believe his spiritual understanding began last Christmas when I made the effort to teach a brand new 2 year old the Christmas story. He couldn't even say Jesus' name then, and baby Jesus was just a plastic toy that he got from Grandma. But now almost a year later, he prays to Jesus and says, "Jesus die on the cross for us and Jesus is with us!"
I can't wait for this Christmas to see how his understanding grows even more! I can't wait to teach more about why Jesus came to this earth and was born, to connect the stories he knows and bring him a fuller picture of what God did for him! Who knows, maybe one of these Christmases (or Easters!), he'll reach a point of understanding of what Jesus did for him and he'll pray to receive the Lord's salvation for himself! That's what my prayer is!