(Right after Thanksgiving, I purchased the Advent Calendars — one for each kid — with the chocolate treasures behind each calendar day. This is a must, insisted upon by each child of mine, even the fifteen-year-old.
Usually I miss the boat on the Advent Calendar purchase. I’m either behind by a few days or I can’t find a store that has any calendars left in stock. This year, I was on the ball. I chose two calendars with the Santa Claus theme and two with the Biblical theme.
There have been a lot of questions about the two themes.)
Gigi: Who is Jesus?
Charlie: Guy from the Bible.
Gigi: What’s the Bible?
Charlie: Book about Jesus and Christianity.
Gigi: There’s a book about Baby Jesus?
Charlie: Yea…Baby Jesus was in the beginning. Then he grew up and even though he LOVED everyone, some people were totally scared of him and his power. Jesus had a lot power because everybody LOVED him back, except for the bad guys who killed him on a cross.
Charlie: Shh. Don’t talk so loudly. Just eat the candy.
Gigi: Mine is the Jesus calendar. It’s with the baby. Your kind is with Santa.
Gigi: Why do I have to keep my voice down?
Charlie: Because if Mom hears you asking all these questions about Jesus, we’re going to have to go back to church and that means Sunday School. I detest Sunday School.
Charlie: It’s completely boring. And there are a lot of crafts. I HATE crafts.
Gigi: I love crafts.
Charlie: Yea…well….good for you.
Gigi: Is Baby Jesus the same as when Santa was a baby?
Charlie: Ummm….no. Santa is folklore. Jesus is Bible stuff.
Gigi: Why is my calendar with Jesus and your calendar is with Santa?
Charlie: Santa isn’t the real part of Christmas, Gigi. Jesus is. Your calendar has a picture of the manger scene, which is when Jesus was born. He had to be born in a stable with cows and horses and stuff because his parents were poor and there was no room for them at the inn when the mother, whose name was Mary, had to have the baby come out.
Gigi: What was the father’s name?
Charlie: Joseph. Or, God…Jesus was the son of God. It’s complicated.
Gigi: She had the baby in the barn? In some hay?
Charlie: Yup. That’s how the story in the Bible goes. It was Jesus’s birthday just like you had a birthday the day you were born and that’s what we celebrate when we have Christmas. There was a star and the three wise men. Like a birthday party in the desert.
Gigi: In the desert?
Charlie: In Israel. Or Bethlehem. Yea…in Bethlehem.
Gigi: Why does everyone do his birthday?
Charlie: Not everyone. There are Jewish people and people who have other religions who don’t celebrate Christmas at all.
Gigi: There are?
Gigi: But Santa goes to all the kids’ houses, right?
Charlie: You can talk to Mom about it. Listen, I’m bored with this conversation.
Gigi: Are the presents Birthday presents or Christmas presents from Santa?
Charlie: (sighing) Why didn’t she just get one kind of calendar?
Gigi: I wanted the calendar with Santa, not this one with Jesus.
Charlie: We can trade.
Gigi: Which calendar is better?
Charlie: (sighing deeply once again) Gigi, the candy is the same in both.
Gigi: No. I mean the story. Which story is better? The Santa one or the Jesus one?
Charlie: (Long pause) Probably the Jesus one…if you are a true Christian. I’m atheist or I might be Buddhist; I haven’t decided.
Charlie: Never mind. Jesus was all about LOVE. That’s all you have to know for Christianity, okay? He LOVED all the people even the really bad ones. He always forgave people no matter what. And he always LOVED.
Gigi: Santa always LOVES you too.
Charlie: Ummm…yea, I guess so. But Santa’s not the real part of Christmas. I just explained the whole thing.
Gigi: Yes he is!
Charlie: Okay. Whatever.
Gigi: I want your Santa calendar. You can have my Jesus one.
Gigi: Thank you.
Charlie: Yep. Merry Christmas.