Last Wednesday when I was traveling back home after being on an overseas mission trip, a colleague announced, “Can you believe Christmas is just a week away?”
Without thinking, I quickly retorted, “Really?!” The entire group around me immediately chuckled, and my new friend couldn’t help but reply, “Yup, it happens every December 25…” We all shared a good laugh. Of course, it shouldn’t catch any of us off guard that Christmas comes every December 25th, and yet every year it seems to somehow sneak up on me.
Perhaps it’s the focus of finishing up the first semester of school with my kids. Or maybe it’s the panic of trying to get enough work done so that I can actually take time off the computer while my kids are on Winter Break. Or, dare I say it, is it possible that we get more wrapped up in wrapping presents, Christmas shopping, and travel planning then we do in the actual reason for the season: the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ?! Let’s face it, none of us are immune from the external demands of work or the societal pressures of commercialism. However, I would argue that even if you feel like you’re drowning in a lethal combination of guilt and tinsel, there’s still time to redeem this time of year for your family!
Here are 5 last-minute ideas for celebrating Jesus’ birthday:
1. Bake Jesus a Birthday Cake
Today or tomorrow, bake Jesus a birthday cake (or birthday cupcake) that you can eat with your Christmas meal to remember why we celebrate Christmas!
2. Sing Happy Birthday
Regardless of whether you decide to bake Jesus a birthday cake or not, you can sing happy birthday to Him. If you do bake a cake, why not sing right before eating (just like you would for anyone’s birthday). Alternatively, you can start your morning by singing before you open presents. Ever since our kids were little, our daughter would plunk out “Happy Birthday” on the piano and sing to us to wake us up and start our morning off right!
3. Walk to Bethlehem
Not literally…but before the sun goes down, perhaps after you’ve enjoyed Christmas dinner together with friends and family, why not take a walk around the neighborhood? Not only will this help you digest your food, but you can talk about how the wise men followed the North Star to find the baby Jesus in the manger. Before walking, consider reading a passage from God’s Love for You Bible Storybook; it features stories about children around the globe and depicts what life is like in their corner of the world… and how God is working through their lives.
4. Make Birthday Cards for Jesus
Have your children make birthday cards for Jesus. Leave them by or under the Christmas Tree to read to Him on Christmas morning. Pack these with your Christmas ornaments once Christmas is over and you can re-read them each year as a special keepsake.
5. Create a Christmas Nail
Friends once gave us a large nail called the Christmas Nail to hang on the top of our tree… but you don’t have to purchase one. The Christmas Nail is symbolic and is meant to be hung on a sturdy branch near the trunk and only your family is supposed to know it’s there. To make your own, buy the largest nail you can find from your local hardware or home improvement store. Then tie a red ribbon (or any string you can find) to the head of the nail and hang from a special place.
Regardless of how you celebrate Jesus’ Birthday, the important thing is just that, to remember that Christmas is, in fact, a celebration of Jesus’ birth!
What is your family’s favorite way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday? Whatever you do, we hope you have a wonderful day sharing the love of Christ with your friends and family!