For an introduction to this series, read this.
We continue adding more from the second section of the Apostles’ Creed this week.
Memorization for this Week
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
We have come to a section of the creed that is admittedly difficult to explain to children. Obviously, if we are teaching older children who already know about “the birds and the bees,” then we should have no problem teaching them that Jesus was born miraculously of a virgin. But I have been aiming this series at younger children, which means we have to explain the doctrine of the virgin conception and birth to minds that won’t be able to grasp the concept of virginity to begin with. How do we explain it?
I think it could go something like this: Jesus was born in a different way than anyone else in the history of the world. What makes his birth different? It is that he was alive before he was ever born! Remember that God has always been Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That means that Jesus (the Son) was always there with the Father and the Spirit, but he was there as God, not yet as a man. When he was born, he actually came into the world from the outside, by a miracle of God, so that he was born as a man who was still God. We call this the “incarnation.” (Don’t shy away from teaching children big words like this; they can handle them as long as you explain what they mean.)
Were you alive before came into your mother’s belly? No, because you didn’t exist yet. But Jesus did exist before he came into Mary’s belly, and when he did that, that was the way he became a man (first as a little baby who grew up into a man) without ever losing any part of his Godness. In the incarnation, the Son of God who was fully God, also became a man, so that he is now both fully God and fully man. He is not half God and half man, nor is he a mixture of God and man that ends up being neither God nor man (like when you mix together chocolate syrup and milk to get chocolate milk, which is neither chocolate syrup anymore, nor is it plain milk anymore). No, when Jesus came into Mary’s belly and then was born as a baby, he was a human being just like you were when you were born, but was also still completely God. That is a miracle beyond our ability to understand, but it should cause us amazement and wonder at who Jesus is.
I would be content to leave the discussion at this level, and then once your children have an understanding of the male contribution to the process of procreation, you can explain more fully the doctrine of the virgin conception/birth and its significance.