Birthday party preparation is a lot of work! You must set the date, choose a theme, design invitations, set the guest list, purchase and wrap presents, order a cake, buy decorations, etc. Just before the party, you must decorate, prepare the food and do any last minute party preparation. Whew! I feel tired just listing what needs to be done!
When I take a moment to focus on the birthday boy, though, my energy is restored. I remember his life, and I want to celebrate his birth.
This time of preparation has a name: Advent. As we begin the season of Advent, we anticipate the coming of Jesus. Advent is a time of preparation for the birth (and eventual return) of Jesus. It’s a time to celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the one who came to save.
Many people participate in the preparation for Christmas (without acknowledging the Advent season), yet they forget why we celebrate. They forget whose birthday it is. They prepare with beautiful decorations, savory foods, extravagant gifts, and multiple parties, yet the guest of honor is rarely acknowledged. Instead, the party guests open the presents, eat the cake, enjoy the decorations, and have a blast. They forget to sing the “Happy Birthday” song, and the guest of honor (whose birthday it is) is not even mentioned. He is present, yet this presence is not acknowledged.
As Christian parents, it’s our job to teach our children why we celebrate Christmas. It’s not about Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, or presents. It’s not about us! Christmas is the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s a huge birthday party to honor the baby who was born to save. It’s Jesus’s birthday!
What can we do to honor Jesus on his birthday? Here are a few ideas:
- Read the Christmas narratives (from Matthew or Luke in the Bible) during the Advent season. Learn the stories (not what you remember from songs or Christmas pageants, but the biblical stories).
- Place a nativity scene at a central location in your home. Allow your children to interact with it and to act out the story of Jesus’s birth.
- Ask your children why we celebrate Christmas. If Jesus’s birth is not mentioned, remind them that he is the reason.
- Have your children make a birthday card for Jesus.
- Read about the gifts given to Jesus by the magi in Matthew 2:1-11. Ask your children what gifts they would have given to Baby Jesus.
- Read the Christmas narratives (from Matthew and/or Luke) on Christmas morning to acknowledge the birthday boy before opening presents to celebrate his
- Bake a birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday!” to Jesus on Christmas day.