The first time I heard a question from a student, I passed it off quite flippantly.
"Mrs. Q., why does Baby Jesus have three eyes?" asked one boy.
"Well, I don't know." (In my mind, I'm wondering what in the world?). "Maybe one is for the Father, one for Jesus, and one for the Holy Ghost."
I know. Not a good answer for inquiring minds.
Again, later. In fact, several laters...days later...again and again..."Why does Baby Jesus have three eyes?" "Look, Baby Jesus has three eyes." "Oh, did you see Baby Jesus and His three eyes?"
Honestly, the comments or questions ALWAYS came when it was time for something else or time to be quiet or time for lunch or recess or chapel...I didn't spend three extra seconds pondering the mystery of Baby Jesus and His supposed three eyes.
Until yesterday. Again, the 'three-eyes Baby Jesus comment.' Inside, my mind finally decided I need to take a look. Even if these 48 year-old eyes don't see as well as 8-10 year-olds. I need to use my cheaters and check it out.
Well, LO, and behold. Baby Jesus DID have three eyes. Who in their right mind gives Baby Jesus three eyes? And why had I not noticed it the year prior, when I purchased the nativity set?
Certainly, Jesus does not need three eyes. He can see everything and know everything and do everything and be everything without eyes at all. But maybe I need three eyes, so I can pay attention to tiny details and inquisitive minds and potential opportunities of spreading a little Light in the hearts of children with unboxed-in minds, ready to hear and believe.
Ahem. "You're right," I said, peering through my reading glasses. "Baby Jesus DOES have three eyes."
I think it may have been one of the few times all eyes and ears were on my radio station, not channel searching on their own for something interesting besides math, language, spelling, or history.
"I guess the artist who painted it made a mistake."
Quite a letdown. But all seemed to accept the answer, and I haven't heard another inquiry or pointed comment about the still three-eyed Baby Jesus. Without question, they accepted the fallibility of human work. Second and third graders make mistakes daily, even hourly, in their job of learning. It doesn't take much to imagine that adults make errors in their jobs.
Regardless of how many eyes Baby Jesus has, the real Jesus is perfect. He has the correct number of eyes. And He loves comments, questions, inquiries, loving hearts, open minds...and He accepts us as we are. Mistakes and all, without counting (not even extra eyes).
I am looking for flesh colored paint. I don't know if I'll paint over the third eye. I do know that I will be more sensitive to the little moments when Jesus has young hearts ready and receptive.
How many eyes does your Baby Jesus have?