EldestGirl took part in her first school play this week. It was a nativity, which our budding atheist was not delighted by. However, the lure of the spotlight proved too much; after the nine millionth time that she moaned about the vicar’s assembly, we asked her if she wanted to be withdrawn from religious activities, and she said yes. When I pointed out this would probably mean she lost her role as Narrator for the nativity, she suddenly found the whole prospect of retelling the story of Jesus’ birth a lot more palatable.
One of the lovely things her school does is teach Macaton alongside most songs and rhymes they do. The sign for “God” appears to be both hands raised with index fingers pointing up at the sky. EldestGirl has totally misinterpreted this sign as air quotes. So every time she says “God”, she literally signs… well, “God”, complete with air quotes. I find this absolutely hilarious and cannot bring myself to correct her.
Religion has once again raised some interesting conversations in our house.
EldestGirl: Was Jesus really born at Christmas?
Me: Well, it probably wasn’t really at Christmas, but yes, somebody called Jesus was born.
EldestGirl: Was he really real?
Me: Yes, there probably was somebody born called Jesus.
EldestGirl: In a stable?
Me: Possibly. It’s hard to tell for sure because it was such a long time ago.
EldestGirl: Is baby Jesus dead now?
Me: Yes. He grew up to be an adult, but he lived thousands of years ago, so yes, he is dead now.
EldestGirl: (as fact) But he’s coming back, isn’t he?
Me: Wait, what? Who told you that?
EldestGirl: The vicar.
Me: Well, some people do believe he’s coming back, but Mummy and Daddy don’t.
EldestGirl: You can’t come back from being dead.
Me: No, I don’t believe you can.
EldestGirl: Why does the vicar say that then?
Me: (deep breath) The vicar believes that Jesus was a special type of magic and isn’t really dead. Some people believe in a place called heaven. They believe in an idea of a place you go to when you die when you see all your friends and family again. Christians think that Jesus was sort of magic and will be able to come back from heaven. You can believe in heaven if you would like to. It is a very nice thought.
EldestGirl: Mummy, you’re so silly. Why would I want to believe a story? It’s ridiculous. You can’t come back from the dead, and once you die, that’s it. Forever.
Me: (in my head) Could you please tell the vicar that?
In the meantime, the prospect of a nativity narrator doing air quotes every time she says “God” is keeping me going at the moment. The prize for the most sarcastic five-year-old goes to…