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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Toddler's Understanding of Christmas

I always sort of thought that Christmas with babies would be so much more fun than Christmas in college, or Christmas as a newlywed. It just had to be, right? 


Decorating is especially more fun with a 2 year old. She's just so full of wonder! It isn't just like she's seeing a Christmas tree or a Nativity scene for the first time, she literally is seeing these things for the first time. At least in her mind she is since she can't remember any Christmas before now. She sees lights on a house and yells "Oooh, look! Lights! Lights on our house!", or "A tissmas tree! Mehhy Tissmas!", or "Orhhmants! Pretty!" 

Good gracious, they're cute.

The best part of this first Christmas that Katie actually understands isn't her pointing out lights, or her absolute wonder at our tree.  Nope, the best part has been explaining Baby Jesus to my two year old.  

We started with this book:

"A Star for Jesus", by Crystal Bowman. It's been a really big hit, in case you are looking for a toddler-friendly Christian Christmas book. It tells the story of the Christmas Star, the Wisemen, and the manger scene really simply.  The next one we got, "Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree" by the same author, explains what the ornaments on our trees mean, and how they help us to remember Baby Jesus.

We have a few more by the same author. "J is for Jesus" tells the story of the candy cane, for instance.

Katie is starting to understand. She knows that Jesus was a baby, and he was very, very special. So special, in fact, that she has now told me that Baby Jesus is her best friend. And last week while I was sewing baby blankets, she asked if I was making one for Baby Jesus. Also, Baby Jesus loves the sheep, because the sheep sleep beside Him. I suppose she thinks that if someone sleeps beside you, you must love them. Good assumption, kid..

There are bits she doesn't quite get yet. For instance, she doesn't understand why we can't see Baby Jesus in the mall just like we see Santa. (It's possible that she had a breakdown while leaving the mall a few days ago for that very reason...) The good news is, she understands that Baby Jesus is just as important as Santa, and in a two year old mind, that's progress. 

Frankly, it's much easier to get a two year old to understand about a fictional man who supposedly comes down the chimney to bring presents than to explain why a baby who was born 2,000 years ago is the reason for this entire holiday. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to teaching her for the rest of my life.