You probably know all about the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the Christmas story they tell. Allow me to introduce you to a brand new gospel, and it really is good news for us all! It’s the Gospel According to Mrs. Fayssoux’s Class of Five Year Olds, and it just may be my favorite Christmas present of 2017.
I should have known that it would make my heart grow three sizes- even if I’m not feeling the least bit Grinch-y! I couldn’t believe more that children have a closeness with God, even when they don’t realize it, and that innate spirituality helps them see things and say things that adults often miss. That’s the reason why the second that our church’s kindergarten teachers asked if I would join with them in presenting the Christmas story to their families this year during their Christmas program, I said OH YES I WILL!
I thought I’d share the beautiful truths I learned from them with you so that you can enjoy their gifts too.
Before I dive into what they taught me, our day school uses the Reggio approach to learning in which teachers and parents encourage the children to research what they’re curious about, and find solutions and new questions. So I expected that the children would be in charge of designing how they wanted to share the Christmas story – and what they would do and say–and I was right! The class invited me to an early planning session and told me that they wanted their program to include worship of God and prayers and songs. Oh, and a book! They wanted to write and illustrate a book themselves, to tell the story, (that’s where the new gospel comes in!) which I would read as they acted out the scenes.
Even the cover slays me.
I won’t share every page, because it’s their book to share, not mine, but there are three things that I can’t let go, ideas that have stayed in my head and danced around my brain because they’re too beautiful to ignore.
- The first happens in the scene in which the angels appeared to the shepherds.
“The angels told the shepherds to come see the baby,” write the children. “She gave them a clue.”
SHE GAVE THEM A CLUE!
How I love this. The angel sends them on a holy treasure hunt, complete with a clue to the divine prize at the end. She gave them a sacred hint, but she did not hand out a laminated map. The shepherds had to use their own wits to get there, following the star, looking for a baby in a manger.
Ever since I sat in the circle with the children and first heard them say this line, I’ve found that I’ve been searching for my own clues to find God, find Baby Jesus, find hope in all the rush and madness of the season. (I’ve found some clues but I’m still looking!)
2. The second beautiful idea happens in the scene in which the wise men find the baby.
“The wise men adored the baby and gave him gold.”
THEY ADORED THE BABY.
If you look close, the wise men have happy tears, just like the shepherds! I love that they ADORED the baby. According to the Gospel of the Children, the wise men knew that this was no ordinary baby, that this was God in swaddling clothes, the most powerful love, with ten tiny toes. The children talked about the wisemen worshiping the baby and praying over him, and giving him gold. I think what I love about this is the word ADORE. When I worship God, I can ADORE God. Just like babies are ADORE-able, so is God. I think I will try to do this in my spare time over Christmas. I’ll think about all the things I adore about Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit, and I’ll spend some time just treasuring them.
3. I’ve saved the best for last.
Whatever happened to that little baby boy in the manger?
According to the Gospel of Children, “Baby Jesus kept growing and growing. He became a king and he healed people. He’s the Healing King.”
HE’S THE HEALING KING!
Evrebute lovs the baby.
WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT, PEOPLE?
Isn’t healing what we all need? What this world needs? I was listening to the news in the car after the Christmas program, pummeled by all the stories of strife and unrest and sadness and violence and poverty and despair and hubris and I couldn’t help thinking about the children standing there in the costumes they made with their parents, gathered around the baby doll in the manger.
What if Christmas happens every year to gather us around the manger with the children and remind us that we already have what we need to deal with the pain on this earth? To look there for a clue as what to do! To take seriously our mission as Christians to follow the Healing King, who stuck close to the sick and forgotten and invisible, who was quick to make room for the outcasts, insisting on justice and mercy.
What if that’s part of it, anyway?
Thank you, Mrs. Fayssoux’s Class of Five Year Olds. I’m so grateful for you today!
Merry Christmas, friends!