One year when The Apprentice was very, very small--probably almost three--I put a piece of green paper on the kitchen wall, about ten days before Easter. I cut out small paper sheep from a Sunday-School pattern, and also a shepherd. Every day we added more sheep to the picture. We may have drawn flowers and things on our "field" too--I don't remember. By the Thursday before Easter we had quite a few sheep. We talked about how the shepherd takes care of the sheep and makes sure they are all where they belong.
When The Apprentice woke up on Good Friday, the shepherd was missing from the picture. Some of the sheep were gone as well. The others were all topsy-turvy or stuck somewhere else on the wall. I told her that this is Good Friday and people were sad today because Jesus the shepherd was gone.
I've wondered since then if that was kind of a mean thing to do to a little kid. Some children (Ponytails) probably would not have taken the missing sheep too well. But The Apprentice caught the idea all right. When we went to church and things were sad and serious, she "understood" why.
The scene remained a mess until Sunday morning: and then the shepherd was back in the picture, with sheep jumping all over him. We celebrated! We hurrahed! Jesus came back! The sheep were back!
And it was--I think--later that day that an older relative asked The Apprentice if an Easter Bunny had visited her. The Apprentice looked at her blankly. The relative then said kindly, "She's just too young to understand Easter."
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