Picture yourself hustling through the mall to get some Christmas shopping done. You’re hungry, tired, scrambling—and your kids are with you. They want lunch from the food court. You just want to get 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: “What does God have to do with Christmas?”
“Wha… um… what did you say?” you respond. Your child answers: “What does God have to do with Christmas? I heard somebody say, ‘He’s the reason for the season.’ I don’t get it.” One of life’s big questions might show up soon, right in the middle of a shopping mall. Want a couple of suggestions, in case you don’t have all the answers? Here are some things to know for when you talk about God with your kids.
1. Don’t panic.It’s OK not to know everything about God.
It’s OK not to know everything about God. 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 figure it out together.”
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 the what, when, and how questions your kids might ask.
3. You don’t need to answer what they’re not asking.
For any dad, talking about God or what He is like or answering any 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. 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 the question for the moment. You don’t have to fit every important fact 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 your child’s curiosity and tell him or her when you’re going to pursue the conversation. For example, “Great question, kiddo. I’d love to talk about that with you, but that’s a conversation to have while we’re sitting down at home, not while we’re out shopping. How about we talk about it when everybody is together tonight at dinner?” Make sure you follow up when you said you would.
5. Be a learner alongside your kids.
Maybe even follow the cues of their curiosity. One of the interesting features of the Bible’s story is it teaches that we are supposed to have faith like a child. Ever notice how concerned adults are with image and reputation? We try to be so sophisticated. Kids aren’t like that. 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.
Sound off: What are the hardest questions your kids have asked about God?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What questions do you have about God and the Christmas story?”