Once upon a time…
…. there was a good man named Jesus.
This is what we’re telling our children, alongside the teachings of ‘Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. We have taught our children so many fables, told them so many stories, illustrated to them so much folklore, that we have possibly lost sight of what is true ourselves.
With like enthusiasm, we talk to our kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. To this point – the Church has done little to elevate Christ above Huckleberry Finn, Mary Poppins and certainly no higher than ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Jesus’ birth, life and death so often become mere “stories”! Ministers, preachers and priest alike stand in pulpits weekly making statements such as “Over 2000 years ago” and “the story” (of Jesus). In my opinion, statements such as these further dismiss the reality of Christ and His death. In subtle form, these statements placate the idea that they are mere fables passed down from generation to generation.
Our children grow older and often realize the stories they had been told, those they had read and the characters within them – are fictional. They learn that Santa doesn’t really come down the chimney, the tooth fairy doesn’t really leave money under their pillow, and possibly therefore assume that Jesus wasn’t really born of a virgin, nor did he actually walk on water or feed 5000 with five loaves and two fish.
All who are called to teach the Word, all who are in position of responsibility to rightly divide the Word, do so as the writer of Hebrews. Without diminishing all childhood story characters or abolishing your family traditions, take heed to simply exalt moreover, the One who died for you. Be careful not to diminish the heavens, nor the angels, nor the prophets, yet exalt Him far above them still.
We should guard against our children growing up to think that each chapter of their bible is prefaced with “Once upon a time….”. It is real. It did happen. And it happened recently, only 1979 years ago, it wasn’t a long long time ago, it wasn’t ‘over 2000 years ago’!
Teach with passion, teach believing, teach like one amazed! Don’t defang God, His blood is not watered down nor has His Word paled, it brings forth life. Hearing His Word causes my belly to tremble; my lips to quiver, and rottenness enters into my bones
A bondservant of Christ and eternal brother to you,