Authored by Tina Kapp
Picture a magical time and place where your birthday is coming up and everyone is excited! Starting a month before your birthday, you began seeing birthday signs going up and people decorating their houses and stores with colors and trinkets that heralded your upcoming birthday.
Everyone talked about hosting a huge party that they were planning just for you, starting with opening birthday presents, then a fancy dinner, followed by dessert and celebrations until the wee hours of the morning with great music featuring songs written about you and your birthday.
You’d be pretty excited! Not only were the inside of people’s houses getting prettied up for your special day, but their roofs and gardens as well. In some places, city streets and town squares were decked out for that sole purpose! You’d probably feel pretty special as you saw birthday hats and sweaters bought and sold, even candy and cakes decorated in your honor. All those birthday tribute songs would begin wafting through stores as people were busy shopping. You knew they must really be thinking of you as they went about their party preparations.
Finally, after months of buildup and anticipation, your big day arrives! Your birthday is in full swing. You know it’s going to be a truly special day with all those you love and who love you! You get up early in the morning and go down to the living room of one family who are good friends of yours.
There they are, under a big tree they decorated in your honor next to a little clay scene commemorating your birth. The children are excitedly unwrapping presents and playing with them immediately (or attempting to eat them, depending on what the present is or the age of the child).
You see that there are no presents under the tree for you, and you feel a little surprised. It’s your birthday, after all. Still, these are your good friends and you’re thrilled to see them so happy. And since this is a magical place and time, you can zero in and read your friends’ thoughts to fully enjoy the happiness they’re partaking in.
To your dismay, however, you see that the dad is stressing about how much all these presents cost them and dwelling on how much time was wasted shopping for them. The mom is worried about the friends she invited to the birthday luncheon—if they’ll get along well and if they’ll notice the weight she put on from all the pre-birthday snacks. The teenage son and daughter are enjoying their new presents but are hoping their friends at school didn’t get the fancier models, thus embarrassing them beyond all reason. The toddler is thinking that his new toy train tastes weird.
You feel slightly left out of everything and wonder if maybe, in spite of all appearances, your birthday was, in essence, forgotten.
This may be a slightly exaggerated example of a regular Christmas, but it can happen to all of us. We can get so caught up in the joy and fun of the celebration that we neglect the reason behind it all—the celebration of Jesus’ birth. A great way to keep this from happening is to come up with ideas that keep Jesus front and center in your Christmas events.
A few ideas you could consider are:
—Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus
—Sing favorite Christmas carols
—Read the Christmas story from the Bible
—Watch a meaningful Christmas movie
—Find a way to help a charity or needy family at Christmas to share the love
—Do nice things for each other as a family, helping out with chores or something the others will appreciate
—Count your blessings together and thank God for one another and the wonderful things He’s done for you.
I’m sure you can think of many more ideas that will help bring Jesus into your Christmas celebrations.
If you put yourself in Jesus’ shoes and think about what He would want you to do to include Him more in your Christmas traditions and celebrations, it will make the day more meaningful for you and your loved ones.
There’s a beautiful Christmas song called, “You Only Left Heaven for Love,” which sums this up perfectly.
Thinking about the wonderful day You were born, You told us it’s better to give than it is to receive, Oh, but I can imagine that silent night. To our world You came, a precious gift from above,
And how we need to remember what Christmas is for.
With buying and shopping, giving and getting new things,
We tend to forget the birth of the King of kings.
And You gave us Yourself on that wonderful first Christmas Eve.
But we’re often so busy with parties and holiday scenes,
And we seem to forget what Your birth on Christmas Day means.
Creation held its breath to see the wonderful sight,
And men heard angels sing,
“Glory and praise to the newborn King!”
Oh, help me to see, You only left Heaven for love that night.
And You gave us Your life so we could know Your Father’s love.
When I think what it cost You, there’s so little I can do,
But I’ll show You my love by giving my heart to You.
Thinking about the wonderful day You were born,
You told us it’s better to give than it is to receive,
Oh, but I can imagine that silent night.
To our world You came, a precious gift from above,
Let’s not forget to include Jesus this Christmas season and party like it’s His birthday—which is what it’s all about.
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2014 by The Family International