Under ordinary circumstances, I would insist they stop interrupting one another. But these were no ordinary circumstances.
This was an epic retelling of the greatest story ever told. And it was, apparently, a duet.
Abby began in the book of Genesis, singing the opening line of the Bible that she learned back when we did a preschool co-op with some friends three years ago.
"Genesis! Verse 1:1!" she sang with gusto. Then Caleb joined in as they finished the tune together: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
"And then he made sharks," Caleb added. "And all the other stuff."
"God made all things. And then he took a break, 'cause it was Sunday," Abby reminded him.
Caleb moved on to the sneaky snake in the garden, the tower of Babel and the battle of Jericho. Abby inserted the story of Noah's Ark where she felt it was appropriate, then closed out the Old Testament with the story of Jonah and the great big fish.
What captured me most was not their vivid recollection of these stories, but the way they worked together to tell them. They weren't just spouting out words. They were telling a story that they understood very well. Much of what they recited was easily recognizable from our nightly Bible readings. But where there were gaps in the story, or simply interesting tidbits that they felt needed telling, they pulled from lessons they've learned all over the place. Bits and pieces of lessons and stories from Sunday school, children's church, Community Bible Study, Vacation Bible School, and our kids' catechism CD all came to mind as they walked each other through the Bible. And it made for a captivating lesson for me as I drove around town listening to them weave their tale in the backseat.
As they continued their tale with Jesus' birth, death and resurrection, I saw first hand the fruits of the labor of all the teachers and helpers who have worked so hard over the years to give my kids a solid scriptural foundation on which to build their little world views.
"Mary had a baby, even though she wasn't married to anybody, and it was Jesus," Abby recalled. "It was a miracle."
"Jesus did lots of those," Caleb added. "With the wine, and the sandwiches and the fish for all the people. He liked food."
Abby was quick to remind him that Jesus didn't limit himself to food miracles. He healed people too, she told him.
"And Jesus died to take away our punishment, Abby." My ears perked up as Caleb went on. "'Cause we do bad things, called sins, like jumping on the bed, but Jesus said we get to be in heaven with him forever."
(And then quietly, almost to himself, he added "I'm sorry for jumping on the bed.")
They briefly broke out in a chorus of my favorite hymn, "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus," then resumed their tale.
"God is everywhere, so he always knows if we do bad things. But Jesus was perfect, Caleb," Abby chimed in. "That's why He can save us. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, and when He's in our heart, we get to be with Him in heaven forever."
"But the cross was really heavy, Abby." Caleb was eager to tell her about one of his recent Sunday School lessons. "So one of his friends helped him carry it."
"Yeah," Abby agreed, "his name was Simon." Caleb nodded in agreement. (I have no idea how they knew this. I had to look it up to see if they were right when I got home.)
For another five minutes or so, they continued piecing together the story of the crucifixion, drawing on every little tidbit they've ever heard. Then Abby turned to her brother and, in a voice that perfectly mimicked mine, asked the question I always ask when Jesus' death comes up: "But did Jesus stay dead?"
"Nope!" answered Caleb. Then in perfect unison they shouted a familiar verse from CBS: "Jesus is alive!"
"That's good news, Mommy," Abby yelled from the back of the van.
"It sure is sweetie," I replied.
So to all of those who have poured into my children over the past few years, to the Ruth Annes and the Edies and the Rachels and all the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring my kids sound teaching, thank you. God's word does not return void, and your work with my children is taking hold in their little hearts.
I couldn't ask for more than that.