Jumping up and down beside Grandma Jane as they walked to the mall, Zack heard the words ‘Mary’s Boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas day’ as a Christmas Carol played from a nearby shop.
He tugged Grandma Jane hands and asked. “Who is Jesus Christ?”
Stopping to look at his innocent four year old face, she said.
“Why Zack, Jesus Christ is Lord and savior of the world. He is the nicest and best friend a child could ever have. It is His birthday we celebrate on Christmas.”
“Really?” Zack asked in wonder.
“Then where is He?”
Grandma Jane thought about the question and said, “He is everywhere.”
When he looked at her confused, she continued, “Zack, Jesus is present everywhere.”
“Will He be at the mall?”
“Yes.” Grandma Jane replied, for she did not want to confuse him.
After a few seconds, Zack asked. “Grandma, what does Jesus look like?”
Grandma Jane thought of how best to answer his question and said. “No one really knows what He looks like Zack. But I can tell you the picture on grandpa’s workshop wall shows what he might have looked like when he was older and saved the world.”
Zack remembered the picture and smiled.
On getting to the mall, Zack looked at the different lines of children and wondered which one led to Jesus.
No one at the end of the line looked like the picture on grandpa’s wall.
Maybe Jesus was hiding, Zack thought.
People were singing and talking about him, Zack was sure Jesus would be shy. But today was his birthday, Jesus shouldn’t be shy.
Where would Jesus hide?
Slowly Zack began to smile.
The line to Santa was the longest.
Grandma Jane said Jesus was the nicest and best friend a child could have.
Leaving his grandma, he ran straight to where Santa was sitting passing other children on his way.
Jumping on Santa, Zack reached for Santa’s cap.
Tug, he pulled with all his might.
Santa cried out but Zack paid no attention.
Santa’s cap came off.
Zack searched his head but it wasn’t there.
Maybe Jesus removed it, he thought to himself.
Santa tried to get him off, but Zack held firm.
Tug, he pulled at Santa’s robe.
“Zachary, what are you doing?” Grandma Jane yelled in shock.
Zack turned and said, “I am trying to reveal Jesus. I know He must be the one wearing Santa’s clothes.”
His grandmother lifted him from Santa’s lap and said. “Why would you think Jesus is the one wearing Santa’s clothes?”
“Because you said so grandma; you said Jesus was the nicest and best friend a child could have.”
“Yes Zack that is what I said. But why are you pulling on Santa clothes?” Grandma Jane asked in wonder.
Zack looked around him and saw everyone was staring at him in shock.
Maybe he shouldn’t have tried to find Jesus.
With tears in his eyes he replied, “Because Santa is the nicest person to kids in the mall so he has to be Jesus. But Santa looks nothing like the picture on grandpa’s wall. The picture has Jesus wearing a crown and injury at His side. I thought if I took of the cap and clothes I could show that Jesus was indeed Santa.”
Crying now, Zack continued. “I only wanted to say Happy Birthday not to Santa but to the real Jesus.”
“Oh Zack.” Grandma Jane fell to her knees and hugged him.
Then she said, “Santa isn’t Jesus.”
“He is not?” Zack asked, looking disappointed.
“No Zack he isn’t. Santa is nice, but Jesus is nicer. Santa gives physical presents but Jesus gives us much more.”
“So where is He grandma? You said He was at the mall. Where’s the line to see Jesus?”
Lifting him up, Grandma Jane realized her mistake by not explaining to him what she meant when she told him Jesus was everywhere.
“I will tell you where the line to see Jesus is when we get home. But you must do something first.”
“You must tell Santa that you are sorry.”
Zack said without hesitation, “I am sorry Santa.”
Santa smiled and waved him goodbye.
As Grandma Jane carried him away, Zack smiled. Soon he would know where Jesus is and finally be able to say Happy Birthday.
****It’s never too early to start telling a child why Jesus is Lord.