All of us as Christians understand and express the fact that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We know all about the inn with no vacancy, the manger, and the swaddling clothes. Without much thought or effort we could even sing a verse of “Away in a Manger.” We say Merry Christmas and probably prefer to shop at stores that return the same sentiment. However, it’s strange to me that many of the same Christians who are so against the commercialization and secularization of Christmas are the very same ones who do not communicate to their own family in their own home the true meaning of Christmas. Do not allow your church to provide the spiritual portion of Christmas while you provide the material portion. Christmas is a special time that you as a family are able to celebrate the birth of the very One who provided a way of salvation for every one of us. May we never forget that Christmas is not just a routine holiday; it is a religious holy day. Unless you plan to make Christmas a true celebration of the birth of Jesus, your children will only view it for its secular reason. Here are a few suggestions that can help you make your Christmas a true birthday celebration

1. Throw an exciting birthday party.

A number of years ago, Laura got an idea from someone who every year in their home they actually make a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake. Of course, all children equate cake with a birthday party, so this would be a practical way to help your children make the connection. Every year now we have a birthday party for Jesus as part of our Christmas tradition. So break out the hats and blowers and throw a party to celebrate this special day!

2. Make a “Jesus first” giving priority.

Not once in my life have I ever been to a birthday party where all of the guests in attendance received more gifts than the person who the party was actually for. When growing up, both sets of my grandparents would send money for our parents to spend on us for our birthday. However, even if it was not our actual birthday, they would still send a little bit of money so that we could get a present as well.  We did not get nearly as much as the sibling whose birthday it was, but we got just enough to get excited about. I am all for giving and receiving Christmas gifts. However at Christmas, if we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday, then should He not get the priority in our gifts? The very first Christmas that Laura and I were married, the Lord convicted me of this, so we decided that whatever we spend on each other individually, we would always spend more than that on Jesus by giving to our annual Christmas Gifts for Christ offering at church. We are simply trying to practice what we preach by not just saying that it is His birthday but showing it.

3. Spend family time in prayer and praise.

Some of my fondest childhood Christmas memories are not just the great gifts but also the time that we as a family spent together reading the Christmas story, singing Christmas carols, and going around the room praying one by one. Even to this day, we still carry on these same practices before we ever open any present or peak into any stocking. Value this time with your family and use it to reinforce the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas truly is all about a gift. It is about the gift of salvation that God gave to all of us through the birth of His Son Jesus into this world. Romans 6:23b says, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Make this Christmas a true birthday celebration!