When Your 7 Year Old Asks What A Virgin Is In The Middle Of The Sermon

There are worse places than the church sanctuary for a child to start asking questions of a more personal nature than you’re ready to answer, but at the time, I couldn’t think of any.



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It was Christmas Eve, 2012. Our very first Christmas Eve service in Tennessee. When the candles were handed to us as we walked through the back doors into the worship center, I thought the most stressful part of the evening would be keeping our three small children from lighting themselves on fire. Hot, dripping wax and small children in close quarters with other people with flames. Who came up with that idea? Little did I know that would be the least of my concerns.




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I steeled myself for the lighting that was to happen later. Our minister began reading the familiar nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. My anxiety eased and I was full of feelings of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Mary and Joseph were heading to Bethlehem. Poor Mary. Weary from pregnancy and travel. The crowded inn. That’s when Pastor Zach paused and commented on the scandal of the virgin being with child. ** gulp**


It was at this moment, I realized we would be lingering at this part of the nativity account. I looked over at my children and calculated their ages in my head (7, 6 & 3). I was pretty sure the 6 year old and 3 year old weren’t paying close attention. However, I was a little worried about the 7 year old. It was the first time I wished my kids were not paying attention to the sermon.


You know the movies you remember fondly as innocent until you sit down to watch them with your mom or your small children only to realize they are full of sex and language? Apparently, that’s the case with the Holy Bible!


I started to pray, as one is want to do in a church service, “Dear LORD, Please help him to move on to the next verse quickly!”


Eldest child turned to me.




My thoughts of peace on earth moved immediately to, “Shut it down. Shut it down, now!”  It took too long, but we finally moved on to the inn with no room and the shepherds abiding in their fields by night. A bullet dodged. Barely.


I feel like there should be a spiritual application you can draw from  this story, but I think it pretty much stands as a cautionary tale of what happens when you bring your kids to church without thinking through an innocent definition of “virgin”. Here are some suggestions should you find yourself in that situation:

  • Distract them with candy. I promise that asking, “Would you like a piece of candy?” at just the right moment will momentarily stun them into silence. It doesn’t matter if you have any or not. In fact, not having any confuses and distracts them for a longer amount of time.
  • Tell them you need to take them to the bathroom right at that very moment.
  • Or you could prepare to tell them that a virgin is someone who is very young and isn’t married yet, but you risk them asking additional questions and who needs that?

You are welcome, friends!

P.S. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced a situation like this. Leave a comment and tell me about your awkward church moment 🙂

4 thoughts on “When Your 7 Year Old Asks What A Virgin Is In The Middle Of The Sermon

  1. The virgin question was easier than them asking what a harlot/loose woman was.. We told them a virgin was someone who wasn’t married…

  2. My great-grandma loved to tell me the story about that awkward moment when I stood up in the middle of a fire and brimstone sermon at age 3. I hollered, “Don’t you yell at me!” I never found out what happened next-she just kept belly laughing.

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