I walk into the church. A bunch of little people await me there: a kindergarten group have come to see the Nativity scene. Eleven kids, two and three years old.

"Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a country far, far away..." I begin. The children stare at me with open mouths. I tell the Story, with arms and hands and eyes as much as words, and the children soak it up. Every now and then, one of them looks puzzled, and I stop and explain. "Yes, Mary had to use a donkey when going to this other town, because there were no cars back then". "Why?" he asks, and I tell him they had not invented them yet. Amazingly enough, he is satisfied with the answer, and the Story goes on. They laugh at the notion of all of Betlehem being full of baah-ing sheep when the shepherds run to the stable, and they suggest different good things the wise men should have brought instead of weird stuff like myrrh, like a blanket or a ball. They pat the camel, and sit in Mary's lap.

At the end, we sing a hymn. They know it well, and sing with joy. The star shines over our heads, and right there, right at that moment, it is very clear to me why God had to become a child.

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apbs sa...