Happy Birthday Jesus
Christmas has come and gone for this year here.Though,if you think about countries such as Russia,Ethiopia or those who follow Julian Calendar,Christmas is still away couple of days.So this post is not too late right ?
I have been asked couple of times,how did we celebrate Christmas back in India?What are the traditions my family had growing up?My answer to both of these question is,”I didn’t celebrate Christmas growing up.”I don’t have hand-on Christmas tradition experience at all.So when i hear my friends saying,they always did this or that growing up,it makes me wonder,what tradition i could have brought to my family here,had i been born in Christian family?
Christmas is fairly new to me..well not that new..a decade new.I started celebrating Christmas after i married my husband.However,i feel like i am very very new,barely there when it comes to the tradition.I have been aware of some of the Christmas tradition our friends and family have but i am barely scratching the surface when it comes to making tradition for our own family.I am reminded of,
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Deuteronomy 11:18
This year is the first time (technically second)we are celebrating Christmas in our new house.So i wanted to start something new.Something memorable. I read Noel Piper’s book “Treasuring God in Our traditions”.EXACTLY what i had been looking for.
As Noel Piper puts it”For a Christian,tradition is laying up God’s words in our own hearts and passing His words to next generation.”
“We will not be here forever for our children but God will.”
So we started few things.We do birthday big time in our house,so it is only appropriate that we celebrate the birthday of the birthdays,Jesus birthday, in big way too.So it began like this.
Anticipation: I remember how i felt when i was pregnant with our first child.How we prepared the room,a nursery for our new baby.I can only imagine how Mary felt when she was prophesied about carrying Christ to birth.Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1: 47-55) gives us the glimpse of that.
Our pastor talked about Simeon during Christmas Eve service. Can you imagine how the “waiting” would have felt to Simeon?
“It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” -Luke 2:26
So we started advent reading this year.It was a new concept to me but after lighting up the first candle on first Sunday,we looked forward to it every day.In fact,i feel something is missing now that its over.
- We read books to our kids,carefully chosen and at least one of them specifically pointing towards Christ.
- We set up a cardboard nativity.Nothing fancy but it conveys the story,don’t you think 🙂
Deck the Hall: I don’t know about you but when our kids birthday approach,my biggest duty is to get the house cleaned for the party.So why not for Jesus’s birthday?So we cleaned,lighted,adorned the house with tree ,garland,lights and ornaments.
Birthday Cake:I asked our kids,what takes place on their birthday and they described the routine that follows that day.Highlight being birthday cake and gifts.So we baked Jesus a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to Him.Some of the attributes of this cake beside being one of the moistest chocolate cake is :
- Cake is black(Dark chocolate Brown),as our sin is black and dark.
- Cake is round:It represents the round sinful world that Jesus humbled Himself to be incarnated.It also represents the eternity with Him by believing in Him.(John 3:16)
- White Icing.Purity and righteousness of Jesus.He cleans us up white as snow.
- Red(m & m) :Jesus cleaned our sin with His Blood.
- Green(m & m): New eternal life with Jesus as a result of believing in Him.
Birthday gift: This was tricky for our kids.They had trouble understanding how we “hand” the gifts to Jesus.So i shared this verse with them.
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40.
So keeping this in mind we visited nursing homes with our friends.Kids handed the Christmas cards to the sweet people there.In the beginning they were hesitant approaching them but quickly they started looking into the rooms to see if anyone is there and said “Merry Christmas as they handed the cards without me prodding them :-).It was precious gift of time that i would not have wanted to spend any other way.We were too busy to take pictures of these awesome moments 🙂
We took cookies to the our neighbors,to those who serve us and to simply those whom we felt can use a little cookie 🙂
- shepherd pouches :We came across the idea of shepherd pouches .After reading Noel Piper’s tradition,it was solidified that i must do it.So i sewed two shepherd pouches for each of our kid.Kids earned money by doing good things,being graceful throughout the month of December.We emptied the pouch on Christmas day and counted the money.$23 precisely..Kids have suggested couple of things where they want their earned money to be spent.We will reveal it to you soon 🙂