The scientists who work with giant pandas have a problem. Pandas may be cute and fuzzy, but they’re also an endangered species. Naturally, people want to do everything they can to help pandas survive. But when humans hang out with pandas, the bears end up becoming dependent on people. That means they may not be ready to survive in the wild.
Panda researchers have come up with what they hope is a solution: whenever they interact with the bears, they dress in a special outfit so they don’t look like people. Check out this video.
Share this video with your students [1:01].
Giant panda keeper in panda costume interacts with cubs
- Do you think the panda cubs in the video were fooled: did they believe they were really interacting with an adult bear? (Even if the human caretakers looked kind of like pandas, it sounds like the cub could probably tell by their smell that they weren’t real bears.)
Clearly, panda outfits aren’t the perfect way to care for cubs. They look kind of silly, and they may or may not be effective in the long run. The perfect solution would be for humans to become pandas!
- Imagine that humans could magically become panda bears. What advantages would that have in taking care of cubs? (The cubs could grow up being cared for by their own species. People-pandas would do the best possible job of preparing the cubs for life in the wild.)
Sadly for the panda cubs, humans can’t turn themselves into animals. But if they could, it would be the perfect way for people to show pandas that they care!
- Can you think of any connection between a human becoming a panda and the story of Christmas? (If humans could become pandas, they would do it to show the pandas how much they care. In a similar way, Jesus became human because it was the perfect way for God to demonstrate His infinite love for us in a way we can understand.)
God became a human being—that’s what Christmas is all about! He chose to be born in a manger because living as a person was the most powerful way that the Lord of the universe could demonstrate His love. It’s kind of like what the panda researchers are trying to do for the bear cubs, but in a miraculous way that could only come from God.
Let’s read in the Gospel of John about how God became a human.