The lesson of Jesus & Clifford

Yesterday, while reading yet another children’s book with the nativity story to my little class of 2- and 3-yr-olds (private school class), I realized there was something important  I should tell them before we left school for the Christmas break.

I wanted to make sure they knew that the story of the birth of Jesus isn’t just another cute story we read for class before we take our nap – the story of Jesus is REAL, and Jesus is REAL!

It can be a challenge to find a good way to explain a concept like this to preschoolers (that being said, I think the 3-yr-olds understood it better, since they are a little older), but I gave it my best shot!

I began to talk about what the word “pretend” means. I asked if they knew what it meant and didn’t get very coherent responses, so I tried a different approach.

I asked, “If (actual name of child replaced) Jessica says she’s a doctor today, does that mean she’s really a doctor?”

“Noooooo!” they all said.

“That’s right!” I encouraged. “Jessica would be pretending to be a doctor. She’s not really a doctor.”

I held up the book Clifford, The Big, Red Dog. “Is Clifford real?” I asked. They agreed he was not. “That’s right! People don’t really have dogs that are bigger than their house – that’s just a pretend story, but we enjoy reading it because it’s fun.”

Then I held up one of the children’s story books with a nativity scene on the cover – the book we had just finished reading. “The story of Jesus is NOT pretend though. He really was born in a manger. Jesus is real, and He is God, and we can pray to Him whenever we want to, every day. He is really there, and hears us.”

I know they are little, but I wanted to tell the children how Jesus is REAL and not just another character in a good book. After all, He said, “Let the little children come,” so He clearly has a heart for even the youngest child. I hope I can continue to make this clear to my class throughout the school year.

(Images used in this post were not taken by the author.)

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