Our family is pretty crazy about Christmas. Sometimes I wonder if, because we live on a tropical island that doesn’t naturally feel much like Christmas, we might overcompensate a bit. We do everything in our power to make it feel like Christmas—from decorating a gigantic tree, to burning Christmas-scented candles, to playing Christmas music. In fact, we might just start the music mid-September. (Don’t judge.)
Well, I want more than anything for my kids to understand and appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. But I cannot deny it is challenging not to let them just get caught up in the materialistic side of it all: the parties,the presents, and the candy are just so enticing. And I don’t have a problem with any of those things…IF our heart’s focus for the season remains on the anticipation and blessing of celebrating our Savior.
So we do devotions, we pack boxes for needy families, we do church activities, and we talk a lot about Jesus, and everything that Christmas is really all about. I mean, even if we took away the presents and the parties and the candy…we’d still have Jesus. And He is all we really need.
To help bring things into focus, I try to tap into the one other holiday that means so much to the boys: birthdays. I don’t know about other families, but my boys seems to start thinking about and planning for their birthdays about nine months out.
So, I like to focus our Christmas anticipation on the most special birthday party of the year: Jesus’ birthday.
It isn’t super fancy, but each Christmas, we bake a cake and decorate it for a birthday. At the end of the day, after the gifts and the celebrating and the playing and the feasting, we gather to again acknowledge Who this day is all about.
So our Christmas celebration culminates in a party for the real guest of honor. We take the time to acknowledge that, really, this is what it’s all about.
Now, I’d love to say that our little birthday party for Jesus is the boys’ greatest focus of the season. No, it’s just a cake and a prayer and a Happy Birthday song. But it’s one that the boys always look forward to. And it’s a tradition that I love.
And while we’re gathered, we might go around and talk about what we would give Jesus, if we could. The little ones might think of Legos or a favorite stuffed toy. Some of us might consider offering Jesus more of our time, more of our heart. This might just last a few moments, but it is a tradition I hope we never lose.
How do we keep Christ in Christmas? Well, when we talk about Christmas, we talk about Jesus as the center. When we plan for the day, we plan for a birthday party for the greatest King Who has ever been.