Christmas is Jesus’ Birthday!

The excitement of Christmas has already begun at our house. Our California children have flown in for the month, the tree is decorated, the stockings are hung (wow – 10 of them this year), most of the Christmas lists are made out, and soon the baking, shopping, and parties will be in full swing.  It is so easy in all this activity to let the real meaning of Christmas go unmentioned.  We adults know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday but how are our children going to know unless we tell them.  They may see this only as a time when all the relatives get together or there’s lots of goodies to eat or everyone gives them gifts.

Bring Christ into every activity of Christmas.  Make every effort to teach the real meaning of Christmas through everything you do:

  • While decorating the tree share that the evergreen tree reminds us of the everlasting love Jesus has for us.  The tree is like a big birthday cake for Jesus and the lights are the candles.  The lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world and that “God lights our darkness” (2 Samuel 22:29)
  • While wrapping gifts share “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) Point out that because it is Jesus’ birthday we give gifts.  Jesus said when we give to one another it is the same as giving to him. (And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40) Share “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).   Make sure your children are involved in making or purchasing gifts to give so they are not just on the receiving end of the gifts.  Also point out that giving is not only things, but he can give love, friendship, help, and joy.
  • Make the manger scene central in your decorations. Be sure your children hear the Christmas story from the Bible often. It’s fine to tell them the pretend stories of Santa and elves, Rudolph and Frosty, but be sure to tell the true story of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, angels, Shepherds, etc.  Also help them understand the true story of Santa.  He loved Jesus so much that he wanted to give to others.  A good book about Santa is “Santa, Are You for Real? “ by Harold Myra.

Begin some family traditions that your children will cherish and carry on after they have families of their own.  Here are some of our family’s:

  • Make a December calendar with all the special events listed or pictured.  Mark off each day till Christmas.
  • Put the Christmas cards you receive in a basket and choose one each day to pray for the family who sent it.
  • Have a birthday party for Jesus complete with birthday cupcakes, candles, and singing Happy Birthday.  Also, we draw pictures of what we want to thank Jesus for and wrap it up each year.  Every year at the birthday party we open up the present for Jesus we wrapped up the year before and see what we put in.
  • Plan a night for all the family to sleep under the tree.  Go to sleep listening to Christmas carols after Dad has read the Christmas Story.
  • Choose a family who has had a hard year to show some special kindness to in some way.
  • Make Christmas cookies together and give to the neighbors.
  • Make Christmas ornaments to add to your tree or to give away.  (Recipe for clay dough: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1/3 cup of water.  Mix salt and flour, add water a little at a time.  Mix with hands. After cutting out with Christmas cookie cutters, bake in 225 degree oven for 15 minutes on each side.)
  • Make decorating the tree a family affair.  Sing as you decorate.
  • Look at pictures from previous Christmases
  • Act out the Christmas story.  Involve the whole family including pets, dolls, stuffed animals
  • Memorize a different scripture each week related to Christmas:
    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:11
    God loved us and sent His Son.  1 John 4:10
    It’s better to give than to receive.  Acts 20:35
    The shepherds praised God.  Luke 2:20

Here’s a simple song to sing: Christmas is Jesus’ Birthday

For the next 25 days, this blog will be relating the real meaning of Christmas with traditional seasonal objects so that you and your children can remember that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.


Day 8 of the 25 Days of Christmas – Candy Canes

It was not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees that special decorations were used to adorn them. Food items, such as candies and cookies, were used predominately, but also, straight white candy sticks were one of the confections used as ornaments in the 1400’s.

Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen began creating the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherds’ crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout Europe.

So how do we transform this to make it a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ?

Shepherds have a prominent place in the story of Jesus. The first people to be told of the birth of Jesus were shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks that first Christmas night. Throughout scripture Jesus is referred to as the Good Shepherd and we are called His sheep.

When you look at the candy cane and especially the crooked end, think on Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. The shepherd carries a staff or rod with him when he goes forth to feed his flock. It is often bent or hooked at one end. With this staff he rules and guides the flock to their green pastures, and defends them from their enemies. Also, with his staff, he corrects them when they are disobedient, and brings them back when they are wandering.

Another explanation of the candy cane is that in the 1870’s a candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness so he shaped it in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, and he made it hard to symbolize Jesus being our Solid Rock.

It is widely held that the white color repesents Christ’s purity, the red stands for the blood He shed, and the presence of three red stripes is representative of the Holy Trinity. It is also interesting that the candy is peppermint flavored; mint is a healing herb that is common in the Holy Land and is believed to be one of the bitter herbs of the Last Supper.

Just remember the next time you eat a candy cane that “J”esus came to be our Good Shepherd who heals our hurts and guides us with His staff.

“I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep,
and am known by My own.”