For the last month or so Tenley will often interrupt you while reading with her and just start asking/saying, “Jesus in your heart? Jesus in Daddy’s heart? Jesus in sister’s heart?” and the list will go on to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the babysitter, people on tv, Tuk, cartoon characters, etc. Then usually during some quiet moments, she will say, “I want Jesus in my heart” and we’ll talk about what that means and explain that there will be a time when she’ll understand What Jesus did for us. A couple weeks ago during lunch, she started crying and I had no idea why despite the fact I was sitting right next to her. I asked what was wrong and she was trying to tell me but I just was not getting it. Hannah Gray quickly piped in, “She doesn’t want Jesus to take her heart and is worried about him taking her stomach”. Somehow she had missed concept of Jesus living in her heart and confused it with him stealing it. Hannah Gray and I worked together to try to explain it a little better to a two year old heart and mind.
Fast forward to tonight. Ethan and I took the girls to see a live drive through nativity on the other side of town. We had a packed dinner in the car while we were waiting in line and it was finally our turn. The amount of questions that were packed into that 15 minutes of driving through the scenes was absolutely flabbergasting. The scenes actually ended up including Jesus as an adult, the cross and the empty tomb. So the conversation naturally went back to answering the question, “Why did Jesus die when he could have saved himself?”. After talking about this for most of the ride home with Hannah Gray, Tenley finally had questions of her own. We had a MASSIVE, I mean MASSIVE temper tantrum that added a good 15 minutes onto our drive and as Hannah Gray sat in hot tears and heavy breathing, Tenley’s quiet voice piped up. “I want to ask Jesus to live in my heart”. “Tenley, you do? Why do you want to do that?”. “I just do. I want him live in my heart”. I quickly tried to formulate some type of simple question that would not be leading but give her a chance to explain why she wanted to do that and give a glimpse of her level of understanding. Hannah Gray asked Jesus to come live in her heart last December 16th after we talked about our advent calendar and having a choice of receiving a gift and that gift being Jesus. So there I was thinking that our Christmas traditions are actually bestowing a sense of wonder and awareness of who Jesus is and why he came. This is fantastic! Then Tenley says, “Yeah, I want Jesus and Mickey Mouse to hold me. Where Mickey Mouse live? (Ethan and I bust out laughing after the intense time of dealing with Thing 1’s tantrum) “Well, Tenley, I think Mickey lives at Disney World and Disney Land”. “Yes, I want Jesus and Mickey to hold me. I go there, they hold me.” Ah, the understanding and innocence of a 2 year old!!!
Hannah Gray and Tenley actively and intently watching the live Nativity.