There comes a time in every Christian parent’s life when you have to stop rushing through the verse in the Bible that says “the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary”….and explain Jesus’ birth to your kids.

I admit to mumbling my way through those opening lines of the Gabriel’s conversation with the mother of Jesus and then exclaiming loudly (as if to distract from any potential questions), “Greetings, favored one!”

I probably sounded a little melodramatic ;)

For years, the concept of talking about the virgin birth with my kids sort-of held me captive. Part of it was because I wasn’t sure why it was so significant that we knew that Mary was a virgin and part of me feared that my kids would ask further, more complicated questions.

Had those same thoughts or questioned yourself on how to address this slightly uncomfortable concept with young children?

Thankfully, after some prayerful research and practice, my husband and I have found effective ideas to get past the strangeness of this conversation to make way for the wonder that is the account of Jesus’ conception and birth. So I want to share these ideas with you!

Also, if you have older children, I’ll help you explain to them why the virgin birth is such a very important detail of Biblical history and our salvation.

HOW TO TEACH YOUR KIDS ABOUT JESUS' BIRTH

How to Teach Your Kids About Jesus’ Virgin Birth

  1. Keep it Simple
  2. Start when they’re young
  3. Tell Them Why It Matters when they’re older
  4. Address sensitive subjects with a simple explanation and, if they’re not your kids, direct them back to their parents for the final discussion

For Young Children, Keep the Story of Jesus’ Birth Simple

Reading the account of Christ’s birth from a Bible storybook with your little kids (the Jesus’ Storybook Bible and The Story Bible are our go-to’s) is the best way to start the conversation. It may be that your kiddos don’t ask about details, that doesn’t seem to start happening until they’re about four years old.

But once you get to the “why?” or “how?” (I can hardly get through one page of a story with my 4 year old before she’s peppered me with those questions a few times! :) ), here are a couple of things you can say:

  1. God did a great miracle in Mary’s tummy by having baby Jesus grow there! (You could include something about your child growing in you as well!) Jesus is God’s gift to us, He is our Savior!
  2. Because Jesus is the Savior, God the Father made a very special way for Him to come as a baby. In the Bible, Isaiah 9:6 says that Jesus is Emmanuel, which means that God is with us. In Bible times, God chose Mary to have Jesus as a baby so He could come to earth, live with all the people on the earth and then die on the cross to save us.

Obviously, this is very basic language for young children, so you can modify as you’d like. I have found that this very plain way of speaking makes sense to my little ones and still sticks to the truth of the Bible account!

Letting your child play with a nativity and then talking about all the people is helpful too! You could have your child identify the Mary and Jesus and Joseph nativity figures and say that God the Father is Jesus’ father and that God put Joseph, Mary’s husband, in charge of taking care of Jesus when he was a little boy, along with Mary, His mother.

Children's Play Nativity - a way to engage your children with the story of Christ's birth

Emphasize the Holy Spirit When Talking About the Virgin Birth with Kids

When the specific questions start to come, such as, “Mom, what does being a virgin mean?”, have an honest conversation with your kids based on their maturity level. This probably shouldn’t be the first time you have the birds and the bees talk with your children, though.

So if you haven’t yet broached that subject, with a child who is 6 or older, you could share something like this:

“Scripture tells us that when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, ‘The Holy Spirit will come over you,’ what he meant was that Mary’s pregnancy was a miraculous act that only the Holy Spirit could make happen. Because Jesus is the Savior of the world, He already has a dad, who is God the Father, so he did not need an earthly father in order to be born, like you and I did. Jesus’ birth is unlike any other birth, and it fulfills prophecy (such as in Isaiah 7:14). So Luke is explaining that to us in chapter 1 of this book of the Bible.”

nativity image - credit to gareth harper unsplash

If you feel that your child is mature enough to understand the concept of virginity, you could talk about how the word virgin (almah) was a familiar word to Israelites in Bible times. To them, they knew it referred to a young woman who was not yet married but was old enough to be married according to their culture.

And since chastity until marriage was the norm in the Hebrew culture, it was understood that the young woman had not yet been together with her betrothed (the man she was engaged to). Knowing this about Mary helped the Hebrew people understand that she was the one who was spoken of in Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14, so they would know the prophecy had come true and the Messiah was going to arrive!

One more idea: Watch the movie The Nativity Story (2006 version) with your kids! It really brings the Christmas story to life in a way that is easy to understand. It’s available very inexpensively, or you can rent it through Amazon video.

It’s easy to get caught up with trying to explain this concept to curious kids, so don’t let it overwhelm the overall wonder of the story of Christ’s birth!

It is an extremely important part of the story, because it shows why Jesus was set apart from all other people in the way He was conceived and born, but it’s okay to keep the explanation simple.

With children of any age, put the primary focus on how the whole Bible account contained in Luke chapters 1 and 2 shows us the amazing power of the Holy Spirit! Show your children the exciting way that prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus. It really is a dramatic, amazing story and I wonder what it would have been like to be there and experience it for ourselves!

Looking for More Ideas for Bringing the Story of Jesus’ Birth Alive in Your Home?

Impress the whole Advent story and the account of Jesus’ birth on your child’s heart with Truth in the Tinsel!

Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands, is an Advent devotional that includes 24 days of Scripture readings, ornament crafts, talking points and other activity ideas for kids preschool through upper elementary age {but anyone can join in}.

There are also fun printables and templates, so not-so-crafty mommas like myself don’t have to come up with ideas on their own! The book lays out exactly what to read, what materials you’ll need and how to do the craft that goes along with the reading for the day. You can even buy printable ornaments if you don’t have time to make them!

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We have used this devotional tool every single year for the past five years and all four of our children still love it! We haven’t always done every single ornament (although we do read each daily devotion) but what’s nice is that the creator, Amanda, lays out alternate craft “schedules” if you don’t have time for making all the ornaments.

What I love about Truth in the Tinsel is that it is so useful for the whole family! Whether you’re a new Christian or a seasoned believer, you’ll be blessed by preparing yourself for the most important part of the Christmas season–the birth of Jesus!

Purchase your own copy of Truth in the Tinsel!

truth in the tinsel an advent experience for little hands review

I hope these ideas for sharing the truth about Jesus’ birth with your kids will help you broach what can be awkward topics, so that more than anything, they can experience the wonder of God’s plan for our salvation!

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Jenn

Blogger/ Author at The Purposeful Mom
Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm an "unstuffy" pastor's wife and mom to four amazing and active children. My desire is to equip you with the resources, tools and encouragement you need to learn God’s Word and apply it to your life so you can teach the Word to your children in a way that has a lasting impact! I want to help you turn good ideas into good practices so that you feel confident, by the grace of God, in carrying out the many vocations you have been called to as a Christian woman. Read more on my about page!

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