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In the room where we’re sleeping Bella found a large crucifix. It’s a less ‘pretty’ one, with blood trickling from crown, hands, knees, feet and side. She often likes to face the cross when we say prayers at bedtime and tonight as she turned to take a closer look she became quiet and sad.

‘Why does Jesus have cuts on his knees?’

‘Why are his feet hurting?’

‘Why did some people hurt him?’

‘Why he’s got no clothes? Who took his clothes away? He’ll be cold with no clothes.’

Bedtime prayers became a quiet talk. I read pain in her eyes as she heard how her friend fell as he carried his cross and scraped his knees, how men held him to it with nails through his hands and feet. What made the deepest impression was that he was pierced in his side. The chorous of questions, incredulous that anyone could hurt Jesus, just grasping the concept that his death was to take the punishment for us, for our sin and selfishness. ‘But how can we help him?’ She begged to be allowed to do something to comfort him. We spoke of offering little ‘cadeaux d’amour’, little gifts of love as we’d spoken of before, to Jesus. Offering up little prayers, smiles, helping hands, joyfully doing things we’d rather not to bring Jesus a smile, offer him a kiss.

She kissed him. She kissed his knees, traced her little fingers over his wounds, kissed him again. And then she had an idea. She went to her suitcase and pulled out a pink t-shirt. ‘Jesus can wear this to keep him warm.’ I watched my little girl tenderly wrap her offering as a blanket around the form on the cross. She asked me to help lay him down and then we said a prayer and I tucked her up in bed.

So many lessons I learn in this little family life.

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