I’ve been thinking lately about how to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my family (particularly my little girl) in a meaningful way. Like it or not, there are a plethora of things that vie for attention and affection on Christmas day. There is the excitement of giving and receiving, sharing meals with family and friends, playing (mainly if your a kid) with friends and your new toys (the latter applies to grown-up kids as well!), cooking and hosting, and the never ending list continues. None of these things are bad. They all have their place in loving one another and enjoying the company of other people. They do, however, present a challenge for a family that wants to meaningfully celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Let me give you some examples. I think the most common way to celebrate Jesus birth on Christmas is to wake up early in the morning and read the biblical story of Jesus’ birth before the first present is opened. That’s a great tradition! From personal experience, however, I’ve noticed that almost everyone is gazing wide eyed at presents while someone is reading the birth story. It’s hard to stay focused on a story when you know as soon as its over you’re going to tear into presents. That scenario has led some families to read the birth story on Christmas Eve. Again, a great tradition! However, the same problem often persists. Trying to get kids or adults to really focus on the birth story when they’re jacked up about the next morning is hard.
I don’t have a one size fits all solution to the problem, mainly because every family is different. This year our family is going to try celebrating the birth of Jesus on Christmas night. As a kid Christmas night always seemed so dull to me, all the excitement was over. My hope is that on Christmas night we’ll be able to put aside some of those wonderful distractions and really focus on Jesus. And we’re going to get creative with it! Forget just reading a story. We’re going to act it out with puppets, manger scenes, and as much drama as we can conjure up. If you don’t have kids that’s probably not the best way for you to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but that’s no reason not to be creative. If you’re an adult celebrating with other adults you could read the birth story and take turns sharing why Jesus’ birth means so much to you, how his gospel has changed your life.
There are literally thousands of ways you can meaningfully celebrate the birth of Jesus. In fact, if you have a few moments, I’d like you to share how your family celebrates the birth of Jesus. Maybe we’ll inspire each other to celebrate Jesus in a fresh, meaningful way this year.
A NOTE TO HUSBANDS AND FATHERS: As always, men, the spiritual tone and direction of your family rests on you. So, a challenge going out to all of us. Joyfully step into your role as spiritual leader this Christmas and lead your family in a meaningful celebration of Jesus birth.