‘..he really did you know!’

‘He really did you know A! really really!

really a baby, really on earth – our planet, he really was really just like us!’ T.

I just love the watching the moments when the ‘penny drops’. At the beginning of the week things all suddenly made sense to T in a new way. Over Christmas we had talked a lot about what (& who) was real, and about how Jesus was real. But for T this last weekend it became her understanding in a brand new way.


We had been to look round an art exhibition, ‘The Art of Mary‘, at Southwell Minster. So we had been talking a lot together that day about how some pictures showed Mary in a nativity scene, and how other artists showed Mary by painting mothers with their babies. T found it difficult to accept that these were Mary – they didn’t look like ‘Mary’ perhaps, or they were not in a familiar nativity setting, so we talked about how Mary was a Mum just like the Mums she knows now, and that Jesus was a baby just like babies she knows now. Of course then we had to answer other questions:

‘where is Jesus now?’ – ‘do you remember the stories that tell us how Jesus grew up, and did amazing things, and said wonderful things? how he died, and that he came alive again? Jesus went to his home in heaven, he is still alive – king of heaven now’

‘where is Mary now?’ – ‘with Jesus in his house in heaven’

‘and where is Joseph now?’ -‘with Jesus in his house in heaven’

‘but they were real?’ – ‘yes, a long time ago’

‘how long ago?’ – ‘well a bit more than two thousand and sixteen years ago’

‘but really real? was baby Jesus really real?’

These questions came and went for the next couple of days, over and over.

At the same time T has begun learning about space at school, the stars, planets, sun and moon – and with Tim Peake in the international space station she has been fascinated with his appearances on TV and the images of earth he has been sending back. She has a new understanding that we humans live on earth – a real planet, in big space near the sun, surrounded by stars.

As these things do it all fell into place for T in a conversation with A during the week. A sudden new insight that Jesus was a really real human baby just like babies she has seen and cuddled, and that he was a human on this planet earth just like her – but in the past. She was just so excited as she blurted out her discovery to A.

Since then the discovering has continued because of course she wanted to work out where on planet earth Bethlehem is, and where ‘real Jesus’ lived, and went to bed, and walked and ate tea! How far it is from where we live. It has helped no end that my sister has studied and lived in the Middle East so we have found those places on the map, and again made connections about it being real – real places where Aunty Em has lived, and where Jesus lived in the past. (and when she has got her head round that I can show her others in our family tree who also lived, worked and wrote there!)

lebanon (em's photo)

photo by Emily Richardson

So this morning before school we were looking up maps in our junior atlas but I am looking forward to showing her the maps in my Bible and exploring the places she knows from the stories we share about Jesus – don’t think any of our children’s Bibles have maps in, but maybe B & A’s teen ones have… I will have a look tomorrow.

I’m also setting myself the challenge of brushing up on the other (ie not Bible) historical sources that give us evidence for the real existence of Jesus… I think I remember something about there being more evidence about Jesus’ life than there is for Julius Caesar! But something tells me that with my curious 5yr old I need to be more certain and much more specific than that – Josephus, Tacitus & the rest here I come in need of a refresher crash course!!

“At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” Flavius Josephus,  Antiquities

Then all I need to do I guess, is prepare myself for the moment when the penny drops about Jesus also being fully God – and those questions and wonderings will be a whole other challenge I’m sure!


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