As Nannygranne drove to the local Dollar Store with her five young charges, ages 5 to 12, they talked about their shopping trip together. “Ok, does everyone have your shopping list ready?” A chorus of responses declared everyone prepared. “Does everyone have a dollar for each name on your list?” Everyone began to compare who had the most money. “Ok, then. When we get to the store, everyone gets a buggy and a buddy, and you find one gift for each person on your list.” She turned to five-year-old Mason, winked, and whispered, “You’re my shopping buddy today, OK?” The bespeckled boy grinned up at her, obviously pleased.
“Can we pick out a toy for ourselves, too?” Jacob, a 5th grader, asked.
“Well, today is about doing for someone else and not ourselves,” Nannygranne directed. Noticing Jacob’s disappointment, she quickly changed the subject. “Does anyone know why we give gifts at Christmas?”
“Because the wise men brought gifts?” one guessed.
“Because Jesus was a gift to the world?” another supposed.
“I like those answers,” Nannygranne said with a smile. “God didn’t make any rules about Christmas. It’s a fun time when many people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus and are with their families. It’s a happy holiday, I think.”
“How do we know Jesus really even lived?” Jacob still smarted from knowing he wasn’t getting another toy today.
“I’m glad you asked that question, Jacob,” Nannygranne replied. With only a few minutes before arriving at their destination, she knew she couldn’t adequately answer right then, but she could make a start. “There are grownups who wonder the same thing, and there are even grownups who say that they’ve decided Jesus wasn’t who He said He was.”
When they arrived, Nannygranne parked the van, cautioning everyone to wait before getting out of the car. “Jesus said He was God who had come to earth and become human. Can we figure out whether He was real? I think we can.”
As they buddied up and reiterated their shopping plan, Nannygranne suggested they pray about their task. “What we are about to do is very important because we will be doing something that shows love for other people. That’s the most important thing about Christmas and even about life.”
She prayed for the children to have wisdom and love as they shopped, and that they would remember all the things God and their families had done for them.
“Before we go into the store, I want us to be thinking if Jesus was just a fairytale, or was He crazy, or a big liar, or was He truly God. We hear a lot about Jesus at Christmas time, so I think it’s important to answer Jacob’s question. Then we’ll talk about it while we’re eating pizza after we’ve finished shopping. How does that sound?”
“Good! I like pizza!” said Mason. He grabbed her hand, and they were off.