His mother looked at him strangely and replied, "Baby Jesus slept in a manger, not in peas!"
"Well, there must have been peas in the manger, and they must have been good sweet ones, too!" said Justin.
His mother laughed and said, "Why do you think that, Justin?"
"Don't you remember?" asked Justin with a bit of condescension in his tone. "We sang about it at church this morning. Sleeeeep in heavenly peas," he sang.
I remember laughing with my first grade student's mom when she told me this story. After she left, I thought about the many times over the years I had heard other funny mistakes like this. At a Christmas concert one year, I heard a young kindergartener sing, ”No elf, No elf, No elf, No elf! Barney's the king of Israel!"
Mistakes like those are called mondegreens. The word came from an author who admitted that she had misunderstood a folk song for years. What she thought was "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And Lady Mondegreen" was actually "They had slain the Earl of Moray/And laid him on the green."
Young children are especially adept at misunderstanding the words to hymns because they contain seldom-heard words and phrasings. Sometimes their mistakes are hilarious, like "Joy to the world! The Lord has gum!" At other times, they are quite thought provoking, like "Praise to The Lord, the almighty, the king of our nation" instead of "king of creation."
As I have watched my children grow, I have noticed that, at times, they can conveniently forget or misunderstand the Bible's teachings. They have even given the excuse that "that just doesn't apply to today." Over and over in the Bible, we read that men did what was right in their own eyes. I have done this, too. However, from Proverbs 21:2, we know that "You may believe you are doing right, but the Lord judges your reasons."
God's laws are absolute. They have never been amended. The writer of Proverbs 3:5 exhorts us to "Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding." To do this we have to be faithful to reading our Bibles every day. I have resolved to do this every year. Sometimes I made it, but often I did not. This year I am blogging to stay on track with my reading. If you have resolved to read your Bible through this year, I encourage you to forget any past failures and to keep on striving to reach the goal set before you. Your reward will be a right understanding of the truths of God that will keep you from mistakes made by relying on your own understanding.