It’s that time of year again! The warm, glowing lights keep the long winter nights a little brighter, strangers on the street don’t seem as much like strangers, and we all have new and old traditions we’re looking forward to.
What does Christmas look like for you and your family? Maybe you decorate sugar cookies with the kids in your family. Or maybe you drive around looking at Christmas lights with some hot cocoa or watch It’s a Wonderful Life before opening presents. Have you ever paused to imagine what it must have been like to witness that very first Christmas?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
Imagine that this one centuries-old promise is all you had ever heard of the Son of God. Would you have believed it? If so, how would you have imagined the Son of God to be presented to the world? Then, what if, one day while you were hard at work before going home to supper, an angel, which you’d never seen or experienced before, appeared in front of you with a powerful message:
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:10-12)
This is the news that God’s followers have been awaiting for years on top of years! Imagine it just came personally to you, right where you were in your everyday life at that time. The promise of God’s son has just been fulfilled, and you’ve been called on to be the first witness! Would you even know how to handle yourself? I imagine their reaction must have been something along the lines of “ME?!”
After going to Bethlehem to see for themselves, what a humbling experience it must have been for those shepherds to see their Savior—the King of Kings—for the first time, wrapped in cloth, lying in a feeding trough and born not to an affluent family, but an ordinary woman. And what an honor to be able to share that Good News!
This year for Christmas, let’s try to do one thing that really brings us close to that time and those events. Here are some ideas I’ve rounded up that might help you to focus.
- Attend church service as a family. This is a great opportunity to come together with people in your community to hear the Good News and sing carols.
- Read the Christmas story. Grab some hot apple cider and cozy up on the couch to read the story from more than 2,000 years ago that changed our lives forever.
- Pray a heartfelt prayer. Before getting out of bed on Christmas Day, set aside time to talk to God in peace and quiet. Give thanks, or send up whatever is on your mind or in your heart.
- Set up a nativity scene. Displaying the nativity scene is a constant reminder of the reason for the season.
- Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. In some families, it’s a tradition to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. Some even bake a cake! This can be a great way to take the age-old story of His birth and make Him present in our homes with us today.
- Be truly joyful. Jesus’s birth is one of the holiest and most joyful days of the year! So many family memories are made during this time together, too—some stressful, some dramatic. Shine a light on the lives of those around you, and give them reason to look back on their memories with warmth and fondness.
What are your own family traditions that bring you close to Jesus?