Holiday time is storytelling time, and holiday stories are often stories of the miraculous. So when children get involved in festive celebrations, the question often arises: How do you tell stories of the supernatural to minds too young to comprehend?
Religious traditions often evolve around miracles that are key to one's faith. Jews celebrate Hanukkah, with its story of the small flask of oil that lighted the temple for eight days.
Christians have the story of the Virgin Birth, and the story of Christ's resurrection. Muslims consider the Quran a miraculous work in itself, as well as the story of the prophet Mohammed's ascension into heaven. Throw Santa into the mix, and storytelling time can be confusing.
So how do you teach children to believe in the miracles of your own religion, warn them against believing in false ones and show respect for those of other faiths?
Experts say you simply tell the story…
Altaf Ali, director of the central Florida chapter of the Council for American-Islamic Relations, said it's sometimes difficult to emphasize to young children the miraculous origins of the Quran.
"It's a little abstract," he said. "We try to tell them about the tangible things in the Quran, like the idea that everyone has two angels that sit on their shoulders and protect them. Telling them things like that complements the stories they hear in school, like fairy tales and other things…''