My 2.5-year-old son is a con man. Seriously.
This morning he had donuts and juice for breakfast. He then opened the fridge, found a sleeve of fun-size Kit-Kats and used his puppy-dog eyes and pathetic voice to get one of those. A few minutes later this conversation took place:
Elijah: “Daddy, I’m already hungry.”
Daddy: “You’re hungry already?”
Elijah: “Me too! Let’s have cookies!”
This time his charm didn’t work, which caused a small temper tantrum until he realized that wouldn’t work either.
A few minutes later he was laying on the floor playing with some toys and decided he wanted his mommy. When commanding her to come didn’t work, he pulled out his favorite trick: pretending he wants a hug.
Elijah: “Mommy, a hug?”
Mommy: “If you want a hug, you can come to mommy.”
Elijah: “A hug.”
Mommy: “Come here, and I’ll give you a hug.”
[he pretends to struggle getting off the floor, and eventually gives up]
Elijah: “Mommy, I’m stuck. Help.”
Mommy: “You’re not stuck.”
Elijah: “Mommy, a hug?”
It never ends. And this is why I’m convinced that anyone who disputes the doctrine of original sin simply has not spent enough time around children. Every child I have met knows exactly how to get what he wants, either through force and deceit (bullies) or charm and deceit (con artists) … or a combination of the two. You don’t need to teach this. It comes naturally. Elijah has been doing this ever since he had the ability to use actions and sounds, and he only gets better at it.
But it struck me this morning (with it being Christmas time and all) that Jesus, who knew no sin, must not have been like this. I can’t even imagine a two-year-old who doesn’t compulsively try and get his way by whatever means necessary.
Last night we got a package from my parents containing Elijah’s Christmas gifts from them. When he saw the wrapped presents, he immediately wanted to open them, and we had to hide them to keep him from doing so when we weren’t looking. According to scholars, Jesus was probably about 2 years old when the wise men showed up with gifts. They gave him things that were shiny, but he must not have grabbed and cried and clung to them. They bowed down in worship, but he must not have thrown a temper tantrum when the attention ended.
The thought of what Jesus must have been like as a child, and how different it must have been from my own experience with children, makes me wish we knew more about his life in between his birth and his ministry. Plus, after Jesus was such a pleasant child, imagine how shocked Mary and Joseph must have been when her second child hit the “terrible twos.”