Grandpa, When Do You Get to the Scary Part?

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A few facts about my granddaughter Audrey:
• She will be four on Christmas Day
• She loves my songs and stories
• She is delightfully scare-able

So, last Friday afternoon we took a hike, learned about dead leaves coming alive again, built a campfire, roasted marshmallows, and at Audrey’s command, listened to grandpa’s scary stories. Grandpa began with one of his favorites, a tame version of which is found on pp. 48-50 of God Is Just Love.

(Send me an email request at and I will forward the story, “Let There Be Light,” to you. It is one of my most often repeated Advent stories from 45 years of ministry.)

I had dived deep into the telling of the story to Audrey, “Let there be light.” In the dark forest, the big bear was growling, in grandpa’s loud and terrifying voice, “Grrrrrrrr!” The animals in the forest were trembling. That’s when Audrey humbled her grandpa with the interruption, “Grandpa, when do you get to the scary part?

“Well then,” I have heard, “You certainly don’t want to tell the children the scary parts!” I don’t? Why the heck not????? These days, kids are living scary stories, aren’t they? Don’t they always? Scary stories, appropriately told by loving adults, who include the message that we can pass through fear and find courage on the other side, are one of the ways children learn that they can handle life’s inevitable dramas and traumas.

To prove the point, at the end of the scary story of bear’s ferocious Grrrrrr’s and chipmunk’s transformational wounds, I asked Audrey the meaning of the story. She sang loudly:

Let there be light!
Let there be light!
Let there be light in this dark world!

She got every word from the song in the story right.

And a little child shall lead them! (Do not hide the truth from the children. Tell them the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, the power of God and the wonders God has done. See Chapter 11 of “God Is Just Love”.)

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