Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sunshine: Theology as seen by a four year-old

Sunshine:  Theology 101 according to a four year-old.

After I pick up Sunshine from Gateway Christian Preschool, we always have lunch together.

Having lunch with Sunshine is always an interesting event, even if it involves copious amounts of pbj, milk, and applesauce.  All it takes is a simple question, and her vast wealth of knowledge and opinions come flooding out like gold coins from Scrooge McDuck’s vault.

All I have to ask, “What did you learn at school today?”

Just before Easter, Sunshine’s eyes brightened at that question, and without missing a bite of pbj, or a drop of the jam from the oozy edges, Sunshine told me.  “I learned all about Jesus.  And, Grandma, did you know…”  

She paused for a swig of 2% milk, and to allow me to mop off her face.  “Did you know that Jesus gotted nailed to a cross?  That’s a thing that has two pieces of wood that make a small ‘t’.  The bad Romans (Where did she hear about them, I wondered.) took big nails, Grandma, really big nails.”  She spread her hands about a foot apart.  “And then they hammered them through Jesus’ hands, really hard.  Right through Jesus’ hands.”

Her wide blue eyes made contact with my green eyes, to make sure I understood what she said.  Oh, I understood.  I could feel His bones breaking, and the blood dripping onto the wood.  My green eyes became misty with tears.

With casual care, Sunshine licked off the strawberry jam that she had squeezed out from the bread, on purpose.  She likes to do that, and I don’t blame her; so do I.

“Then they stood the cross up like this,” Sunshine demonstrated with her yellow IKEA plastic spoon, “and dropped it in a hole like this.”  She brought down the spoon hard into the bowl of applesauce.  “That woulda really hurted, you know.”

Again her eyes looked deeply into mine, checking for understanding just like any good teacher would.  Oh, I understood how the cross would have hit the ground with a vibrating thud, and how this would have shook Christ’s body with waves of pain.  My eyes blinked at hers several times.

She told me the whole story, event by event, while I remained very still, listening and watching as my almost 5 year old granddaughter explained salvation to me.  “Miss Kenny gived us each a paper cross we color on, and I decided to color my cross like a sunset.”  I looked confused, I suppose, for now she patiently explained her ideas as if I were only 4 years old.  

“You see, Grandma, the red is for the Blood of Jesus, which He gave away so we can see Him in Heaven.  Then the orange is for the sunset when Jesus died.”  Another bite of pbj, and the last swallow of milk.  

“Can I have some more milk, Grandma?”  Without missing a beat while I automatically poured the milk into her pink IKEA cup, Sunshine lowered her voice to a whisper.  “Then I used yellow.  You know why I used yellow?” 

I shook my head, for at this point I didn’t want to or couldn’t talk.  “Well, the yellow is for sunrise, when Jesus got up out of His grave.  That meaned that He wasn’t dead anymore, that He was alive!”  She slammed her hand on the table.  “There!  See!  Jesus is alive!”

With the last bite of pbj, and the last swipe of the spoon around the bowl of applesauce, Sunshine finished up.  “Then I colored around the cross in blue, ‘cause Jesus went up to Heaven, and He’s waiting there for all of us.”  She gazed into my eyes and asked, “Grandma, why are you crying?  This is good news, not bad.  Jesus is alive!”

I pulled her into my lap and wrapped my arms around her.  Sunshine wiped her gooey face into my tee-shirt, and filled me with her warmth.  Yes, He’s alive, Sunshine.

Susan Kane
April 27, 2011

This is a re-post from six years ago.  I had forgotten about until I checked comments in Hold for Moderation section.  Sunshine is now eleven, my height, with the amazing blue eyes.  And she still knows what Jesus did for us.


  1. I bet that was a truly magical moment. Good for her!

  2. She sure told it well. A moment not to be forgotten.

  3. Wonderful Susan and great story telling by you and by your granddaughter ... lovely to read and think about - cheers Hilary

  4. How beautiful. She had a complete understanding of the situation and she's a good little story teller.

  5. A wonderful moment that must have been, heartwarming indeed. A story that never gets old. Greetings!

  6. Oh Susan, this was an incredible read, I so enjoyed it.
    Your grand-daughters understanding, and how she related the story to you - just amazing.

    All the best Jan

  7. That's a lot different, and nicer, than what I learned at home.

  8. Oh, this is beautiful! Truths from the mouths of babes. I'm so glad she still knows . . .

  9. Dear Susan, thank you. Sunshine is grace given to you and now to all your readers. Peace be to you.


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