Talking to Your Kids about God
Picture yourself hustling in the mall to get some Christmas shopping done. You’re hungry, tired, scrambling – and your kids are with you. They want lunch in the food court. You just want to get done and home as soon as possible. While you’re holding up a necklace, wondering if your wife will like it, one of your kids asks a question out of the clear blue sky:
“Dad, what does God have to do with Christmas?”
“Wha… um… what did you say?”
“What does God have to do with Christmas? I heard somebody say, ‘He’s the reason for the season.’ I don’t get it.”
“Uh, can this wait for your mom?”
“I heard somebody say that he was born in a manger, but I didn’t think God was born. And if he wasn’t born, where did he come from? And if he’s a baby in a manger, then how can he be everywhere because isn’t God everywhere?”
Are you ready for one of life’s big questions right in the middle of a shopping mall? Want a couple of suggestions, just in case you don’t have all the answers? Here are some things to know when you talk about God with your kids.
1. Don’t panic.
It’s OK not to know everything. The last thing you want to do is make stuff up. Talking about God is a serious conversation, and if you don’t have the answers at the tip of your tongue, say so. “What a great question, kiddo. I don’t know the answer to that. But we should go figure it out.”
2. Know where you can find some answers.
The Bible records Jesus’ birth and the Christmas story in Luke chapter 2. This chapter can help provide some basic answers to “what” “when” and “how” kinds of questions your kids might be asking.
3. You don’t need to answer what they’re not asking.
For any dad, talking about God or what He is like or questions of faith can make you feel out of your depth. You know it’s important, so you want to give a great answer. However, you might have to fight the temptation to over-answer. Maybe a simple answer might suffice. For example, if your kid is asking what God has to do with Christmas, instead of talking about the history of Christianity or giving a short comparative religion course, you might simply say, “Christmas celebrates how God sent Jesus to live on earth. That’s a big deal.” Then you can see where the conversation goes. Or maybe that will satisfy their question for the moment. You don’t have to fit everything that ever needed saying into one conversation.
4. Make space for the conversation.
Maybe the mall isn’t the right place for the conversation. Maybe you really do have to get home soon. If you can’t give an answer to the question right then, do honor their curiosity and tell them when you’re going pursue the conversation with them. For example, “Great question, kiddo. I’d love to talk about that with you, but that’s a conversation for sitting down at home, not running around shopping. How about if we talk about this when everybody is together tonight at dinner?” Make sure you follow up at dinner!
5. Be a learner alongside your kids.
Maybe even follow the cues of their curiosity. [Tweet This] One of the interesting features of the Bible’s story is that it teaches that we are supposed to come with faith like a child. Ever notice how concerned adults are with their image and reputation? We try to be so sophisticated. Kids aren’t that way. They ask open-hearted questions and enjoy mystery and wonder. If you find yourself struggling to answer your kids’ questions about God at Christmastime, follow their example in being child-like as you find answers. It’s an incredible story. One that can change your whole life.
Here’s one video that explains what God has to do with Christmas.
What are the hardest questions your kids have asked you about God?