A few days before Christmas last year, all four of us came down with a fabulous flu, effectively changing all of our holiday plans to “quarantined.”
Despite not feeling well, being stuck at home, and missing both sides of our families’ celebrations, our boys were still very excited for Christmas Day.
We had done a very simple “Advent-style” daily countdown to Christmas using a nativity scene window cling set. Each day one of the boys got to pick out which character or scene piece we put on the window, leaving Baby Jesus for Christmas Eve. Each night we talked about how Jesus came as a baby to save us all.
On December 24, they added Jesus to the manger, and then we did our traditional reading of the Christmas story. With our version, the boys get to use the pieces of my Fontanini nativity set to act out the story while we read it.
From there it was up to bed to say prayers and get our little guys tucked in for the night.
After Josiah’s usual prayer of, “Sank you for mommy an’ daddy an’ ‘Jah-jah’ (Elijah) an’ ‘Benny’ (Vinny), Hep me seep well. Amen,” it was Elijah’s turn.
Here was the best part: “Jesus, thank You that it’s Your birthday tomorrow. You’re probably going to be excited tomorrow.”
Brad and I quietly chuckled. We’re used to at least one of our children’s prayers having an amusing element.
But, as I’ve thought about it later, why shouldn’t Jesus be excited for Christmas? It was kind of a big day for Him and all of mankind.
Yes, I know, we don’t technically know the exact day that He was born, and it probably wasn’t even in December. However, I’m sure Jesus enjoys that we celebrate His birth and all that it meant, even if it’s not the very same, exact day. I mean, I don’t mind when people have a party for me when it’s not my birthday.
And yes, I know that much of the world has made Christmas into something where Jesus is completely forgotten. That’s like people having a party for your birthday without you, and yes, that’s rather rude and uncool.
However, there are still plenty of us remembering to invite the Guest of Honor, and not just inviting Him out of obligation, so He can sit in the corner with the nativity set all awkward while we hang out with our friends and family and Santa Claus, singing “Jingle Bells” and sipping eggnog.
(A side note: In Lape Haven, we like the true history of St. Nicholas and his focus on blessing others, but the modern idea of Santa Claus is just a minor part of our holiday, kind of like Frosty, Rudolph, Scrooge, and Buddy the Elf).
No, I mean a Christmas where we truly strive to keep Jesus as the central focus of our festivities, honoring the sacrifice He came to make and reveling in the love that compelled Him to become flesh and dwell among us.
I think that would be exciting to Him.
And honestly, we don’t have to wait for Christmas; we shouldn’t wait for Christmas to make Him our priority, our focus, and our source of celebration.
As Christians, our holiday season should be a continuation of our everyday walk of giving Jesus His rightful place as Lord in our life, of praying for His will to be done, and of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us, correct us, and make us more like Him. Christmas should be a celebration of all He’s done in and through us throughout the year.
Every night we could pray, like Elijah, and be thankful that Jesus came to us. We could tell Him, “Jesus, thank you that I can celebrate You again all day tomorrow. Jesus, You’re probably going to be excited tomorrow.”
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:68)