A Three Year Old’s Christmas Story…
From the imagination of Gary Piper
“‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17, NLT) Note: I hope you don’t mind I reduced young men to a 3 year old.
Colton (our 3 year old great grandson) were sitting watching Mickey Mouse’s rendition the timeless story of the Prince and the Pauper when from out of nowhere, “Grandpa, why are some kids poor?” I was temporarily taken aback, questions like that come from teenagers not 3 year old’s.”
After coming back on line, “Where did you hear about some kids being poor, Colton?” I was sure he say from the Prince and Pauper movie were were watching but instead, “I seen on the TV they were collecting toys for the poor kids who wouldn’t get any toys for Christmas.”
“Well, grandpa,” I said to myself, “how are you going to explain why there are poor kids.” My first thought was to try and change the subject and hope that would be the end of it for awhile but then, “Am I a poor kid too, grandpa?” When he asked me that I knew this wasn’t going to go away. I was sure whatever my answer was he’d probably not understand but I had to try anyway. My first thought was to use the Prince and Pauper movie were were watching. “Maybe if we watch Mickey Mouse we’ll find out all there is to know about poor kids,” I suggested. “Grandpa, Mickey Mouse is a cartoon those kids on TV were real kids. What does a kid do that makes him poor?”
At first I was going to try to answer his first question but I realized this wasn’t about the kids on TV this was about a 3 year old boy asking about life. I wanted to tell him everything was going to be okay, that he was too young to worry about older people stuff but suddenly I thought of the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus into a poor family. “Colton, do you know what Christmas is all about?” I asked. Thinking he give me the usual Santa Claus leaving presents under Christmas trees instead to my surprise, “Collecting toys for poor kids,” he replied. “Do you think you have to be poor to get toys for Christmas?” Before I could answer him…
“Grandpa, what does it mean to be poor?” I knew the differences between being poor, middle class, and rich but are those differences. After several seconds of mental deliberation I concluded the differences weren’t what it meant to be poor they were reasons, the meaning of being poor was much deeper. But explaining it to a 3 year old presented a real challenge.
“Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” (2 Corinthians 6:10, NLT)
“Colton, to be poor means there are some things you don’t have and can’t get them yourself, to be poor means you need to depend on someone else.” I wasn’t sure I’d explained myself good enough so I waited or a reply. “Then that means I am poor because I need you, and you are poor because you need me.”
“Out of the mouth of babes.”
“That’s a good way of putting it bud, but there’s more.” He turned from watching Mickey Mouse looked at me and said, “there’s more?” I remember reading Paul talking about being both poor and rich at the same time but reading scripture to a 3 year old would probably prove fruitless.
“You are right because we need each other we are poor but since we have each other that makes us rich. I give you the things you need so you’re no longer poor and you give me the things I need so that makes me no longer poor. We’re poor but we’re rich. Does that make any sense?” I could tell he was thinking hard, “Grandpa, you give me juice and gummies and food so I’m not poor, but what do i give you so you won’t be poor?” Ah ha, I thought finally an easy to answer question, “Colton, you give me love. And when a person is loved by another both are no longer poor they are rich.”
“Grandpa, do you know who else loves us?”
I Expected him to name family members but instead, “God so that we were poor so He gave us a Christmas present.”
Playing along, “He did? Who told you that?”
“Mister Bud, he told me at church. He told me some men were watching sheep and they heard about this baby who was born in a barn so they went and when they saw the baby they smiled and were really happy. I guess they found out they were rich and not poor, didn’t they?”
“Colton, as long as you hold the Christmas story in your heart and believe in Jesus you’ll never be poor even when you don’t have everything you want.”
“Can we watch Tayo, the little bus now?”
“Yup! Let’s see if we can find him.”
“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.” (Psalm 41:1–3, NLT)
The true meaning of Christmas has become overshadowed by commercialism and complicated by the long and expensive gift lists. Sure Christmas is about giving and getting gifts but it’s more about loving and being loved. Not only is it about giving and getting gifts more importantly it’s about giving ourselves not only to each other but to the Christ Child as well.
The Christmas Story is about God coming into YOUR world and life as a newborn baby then giving YOU everything YOU need to the richest person YOU can be.
Grace and PEACE,
“Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.”