Silent Night. Holy Night.
All is Calm…All is Bright
Round Yon Vir—Hold on. Let’s press the pause button right here.
Funny how we parents throw certain words around in December that we wouldn’t dare say around our kids in heat of July. I love that song as much as you do—it’s one of my favorites. But before you finish that celebrated line, I need to ask, “Are you feeling lucky?”
Because although your four-year-old hasn’t zeroed in on the first 22 times she’s heard the word VIRGIN this season, doesn’t mean she won’t the 23rd time. And the madness hasn’t even reached its fever pitch yet. This noun/adjective has a lot more play time in it still to go. Before Christmas morning, it will be broadcast through the airwaves, sung by toddlers and grandparents alike, shouted from the pulpit, and read from the Word of God many more times.
Hey, I’m good with it. You’re good with it. We’re ALL good with virginity.
Until your little one asks…What does virgin mean?
Yikes! Were you ready for that one?
Oooo…what are you going to say?
I hope by now you know how much I like you. So here’s my Christmas gift to YOU.
First, DO NOT SAY A WORD. Scan the room. If there’s a bottle of olive oil set within view of your kid, you may be off the hook. They probably just read the label. And you can handle that one.
However, once you eliminate the possibility of olive oil saving the day and accept that the fact they’re actually asking what big “VIRGIN” means, I want to help you be prepared with a good answer. Because YOU are a parent. You are awesome. And you know what you are talking about when it comes to sex.
Pep talk over. Let’s get to work!
When we are talking to our kids about sex, it doesn’t have to be “the WHOLE truth and NOTHING BUT the truth.” Oh, we will always give them “NOTHING BUT the truth.” But depending on their age it doesn’t necessarily have to be the WHOLE truth.
Sometimes that just makes everyone queasy anyway.
Start simple. Of course we want to keep the conversation at a level they can handle yet still be truthful with them. For instance, telling your six-year-old that a virgin is someone who hasn’t had their first kiss sounds really sweet. And it might work… until they get kissed by someone on the playground and proudly announces to the librarian that they are no longer a virgin.
That’s where it will seem to fall apart.
So the challenge for us with little ones is being honest yet still keeping it innocent.
CHILD: What’s a virgin?
YOU: “That is a really great question. I’m so glad you asked me. Before I give you an answer, I was wondering where did you hear that word?”
Once you have defined what prompted the inquiry you can respond with something like this:
CHILD UP TO AGE 8:
A virgin is someone who has never loved someone in the special way that God designed a husband and a wife to love each other. (Easy-peasy, right?)
Now, if they tell you they heard the word virgin in reference to Mary, Jesus’ mother, that’s great! But it also connects the concept of virginity and a baby, which may need to be explained. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the story of our Lord, so let’s tell them all about it!
The Bible tells us that Mary was a virgin. She loved God very much and obeyed him with her heart and body. She hadn’t loved someone in the way that God designed a husband and wife to love each other and make a baby yet. God chose Mary to do a very special thing! Every baby that has ever been born was made by a special kind of love that mommies and daddies share except ONE. God wanted to do a miracle with HIS SON and He did! The miracle was how God placed Jesus to grow inside of Mary without needing a daddy. Pretty cool, huh? And even though Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ father, he married Mary and raised Jesus. He loved them both dearly.
CHILD AGE 8 AND OLDER: “A virgin is someone who has never had sex.” Simple. But definitely not easy.
“Are you crazy, Traci?! If I say that, they’ll ask me what sex is. What would I do then?”
I know it seems young, but here’s the thing: This is an important age to begin talking about sex. At this age, they are very likely hearing about it whether you want them to or not, so why not hear it from you? You are the best teacher they will ever have! They deserve your commitment and sheer determination to get them through this complicated world by being honest and loving. The opportunity we have to teach them our values is our privilege.
If you need some help on having The Talk, the book “Teaching the Birds and the Bees without the Butterflies” will assist and equip you to make a difficult task a little easier.
So bottom line is this: You may NOT get asked this loaded question this holiday season.
But you might.
Either way, be ready.
Remember, when you least expect it, EXPECT IT.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
This Christmas Season, may your beautiful family celebrate the best gift of all and the heavenly blessings we have received through our Lord Jesus! I hope you know HIM.