so, saturday night (12/17) i'm getting carter ready for bed. he's singing away in a manger, and we're talking about Jesus. he is saying how jesus was born on Christmas day, and then starts saying that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. all of a sudden, his face is super sad and he looks as though he might burst into tears, and says "why did Jesus have to die on the cross?" so, i just said that it was part of God's plan, and was the only way for our sins to be forgiven. he goes on to ask about sin, and we pray for forgiveness of his not listening earlier in the day. then he is still upset, and i ask what was wrong. and he says "but why did Jesus have to die on the cross? He was just a baby!" i explained that He first grew up to be a man. :)
then we talk about the fact that although Christ died on the cross, He rose from the dead three days later. there was much discussion about heaven, and that it's where we go after we die if we believe in Jesus, and that we will live there with Him forever. he asks about someone who recently passed away, and i said "yep, they are in heaven, with Jesus now!" with a confused look on his face, he said "but when did she rise again?" on with another explanation that only Jesus rose again...
as i can almost see the wheels turning in his head, he says something about missing jesus. so i say something like "do you mean you miss Jesus being on earth?" and he says "yes - i wish he would talk to me". so i go on to explain that God and Jesus can talk to us, but not in a way that we can hear - through the bible, sometimes through other people, etc. i pull out his bible, and we read some verses that talk about Him being with us, never leaving us, etc. carter seems ok with that, and then we finish getting him ready for bed. he lays down, and as we're praying, he says "dear Jesus, thank you for everything in our world, and for protecting us and dying for our sins." then there was a long pause. i peek over at him to see what's going on, and he opens his eyes, looks at me and says indignantly "see? He's not saying anything back!"
this is such an interesting stage...so much thought going on. so sensitive. i don't want to miss a moment or opportunity to help him understand. it is definitely a tough concept - even for adults, let along a 4.5 year old! Lord, help me with your words - your truth.