"I want more Jesus," Naomi said to me this morning. Before anyone gets to thinking how holy my daughter is, know that she was talking about the small nativity scene that my mom sent us for Christmas this year. It comes with a cardboard pop-up background and six boxes that are decorated to look like gifts each containing one character: Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a shepherd and a wise man. Naomi loves opening each of the boxes taking the characters out and placing them in the scene. Along the way I try to tell the story of the nativity. And then it's time to 'clean up'; the characters go back in the boxes. We do this repeatedly. Thus, "more Jesus" is always called for after each cycle.
I try to find ways to use books and play that at least introduce Naomi to ideas about who God is an how God is found in the world. Christmas seems like a natural time to use this kind of play. It can be difficult to find resources for play and reading that are in line with my theological bent but it's hard to go wrong with figures of Mary and Joseph and Jesus in the stable. I can remember playing with the figures in my family's creche when I was a child myself.
It's a hard to balance the many other influences on our kids, not all bad, but each pulling pieces of them in other directions. I pray that Naomi will continue to want 'more Jesus' and that even though we might put baby Jesus back in his box, she'll know that Jesus is wholly un-contained and always ready to play with her.