Today, I welcome my friend, Kristin Hill Taylor of 152 Insights To My Soul. She’s sharing one of the special ways her family makes Christmas meaningful each year.
Each December, we sing “Happy Birthday” with a chorus of friends. We eat cake, make crafts, and hang out with other families.
But the honoree is no regular man. He’s the savior of the world.
Our birthday party for Jesus has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
Kids understand birthday parties. They look forward to their own, and they like receiving invitations to other parties. I want my kids to grow up understanding that Christmas is a season full of sparkly lights, wrapped boxes, and goodwill toward men — only because of Jesus.
So, we throw a birthday party for Jesus to remind the kids who is worth celebrating – this day and every other day of the year. We collect for charity, make crafts to share with neighbors who need something to brighten their days, and hear the Christmas story after singing carols. We savor fellowship with other families who want to dwell on this holiday truth.
The fact Jesus was born is a reminder that God is with us. He walked this earth. He experienced physical life in the same ways we do. He felt pain; he experienced hunger, thirst, exhaustion. And he gave that life up for us. So why not celebrate him — that tiny babe that changed our world with his birth?
Our tradition began with three families. And then it expanded to include more of our circle of friends. While every year is a little different, our celebration always points to Jesus. This year we’ll have our fourth annual Jesus Birthday Party the first Saturday in December.
You can plan a Jesus Birthday Party too. Here’s a checklist to get you started:
- Pick a date in December. I want the kids to associate this birthday party with Christmas, so I find a date between Thanksgiving and Christmas and schedule the tradition. Consider what time would be best for your circle of friends. We like lunch-time parties around here, but each year has been different based on what else is going on.
- Let your friends know as early as possible. December calendars get busy fast.
- Choose charitable projects. We collect canned goods for our local food pantry and money to buy gifts from Compassion International’s holiday catalog. You could have a toy drive or make cards to give out at nursing homes.
- Plan activities. Consider crafts, songs, books, and games that can incorporate the meaning of Christmas. We’ve made cards, created manger scenes out of candy, drawn pictures, made advent paper chains, and had a children’s concert.
- Serve food. The time of the day will determine how much and what kind food you’ll offer, but you’ll want to make it fun and festive, just like a regular family birthday party. You’ll also want to make sure you have a birthday cake for Jesus. Just don’t try to do it all yourself – ask your friends and family to help by bringing a dish.
- Include party hats, goody bags, and other things that kids relate to birthday parties. Oriental Trading has a nice selection of “Happy birthday, Jesus” and nativity party favors and activities. Jesus was born, and that’s a life worth celebrating. Make it tangible for the kids.
Of course, there are many great ways to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This birthday party is one of several things my family does each year to focus on giving and God’s glory. Some traditions make it on our calendar every December. Other opportunities come when we’re least expecting them.
But wherever we are, we can always let our lives sing “Happy Birthday” to the one who came to save us. <<<Tweet This!
Kristin Hill Taylor lives in Murray, Ky., with her husband, Greg, and two kids – 6-year-old Cate and 4-year-old Ben. She can often be found trying to beat her husband in Words with Friends, playing games of Settlers of Catan with her best friends, listening to her daughter’s stories, reminding her son to be careful, or texting her friends. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and documenting real life. You can keep up with her at www.kristinhilltaylor.com or follow on her Twitter.