Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

Friend to Friend

Every year, I search for Christmas poems, stories, and traditions that stir my soul and keep my focus on Jesus. Perhaps none has tugged on my heartstrings like the treasure I am sharing with you today. It is a letter that could have been written by Mary. Join me now and let’s peek over Joseph’s shoulder as he reads this letter from his beloved.

I had a dream Joseph. And I don’t understand it not really. But think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. Well I think that’s what it was about. People had been preparing for about six weeks. They had decorated their house, bought new clothes, gone shopping many times, and bought elaborate gifts. But it was peculiar though because you see, the gifts weren’t for our Son. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes! A tree, Joseph, right in their house. They decorated a tree.

The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. And there was a figure on top of the tree that looked something like what an angel might look like. Oh, it was so beautiful. Everyone was laughing and happy and all excited about the gifts. They gave gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son. I don’t even think they knew Him. They never mentioned His name. Doesn’t it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate somebody’s birthday when they don’t even know Him. I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration, He would have been intruding.

Everything was beautiful, Joseph. Everyone was full of cheer. But it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus, not to be wanted at His own birthday celebration. I’m glad that it was only a dream. What if it would have been true?

What if it had been true? This story pierced my heart because in my home growing up, it was true. My childhood was a cauldron of violent arguments, alcohol inflamed fights, and long passages of passive aggressive silence. My parents were a mess, and their children were even messier.

Amazingly, the tensions ratcheted up a notch at Christmas. Dad’s business associates gave him liquor in ornate bottles—alcohol that fueled his volatile anger. My mom went into a stressful frenzy to have a perfectly decorated home with mounds of gifts under the tree. I dreaded December…every year.

On Christmas morning, I tore into elegantly wrapped presents. Right now, I can’t even recall what five of them were.

What I really wanted was a little bit of that “Peace on Earth” we sang about in church. I longed for Emmanuel to bring some of that “Silent Night” into my chaotic life. I longed for a mommy and daddy who loved each other. What I didn’t care about was more stuff.

And then I had a child of my own. I held that squirmy bundle of love in my arms and made a commitment to keep Jesus the center of our home. That decision included keeping Christmas from becoming a stress-filled retail event, and making sure it was a love-filled Christ-centered celebration.

This year, let’s make sure to invite the honored Guest to His birthday celebration. Set Him a place at the table. Read about His birth on Christmas morning. Wrap Him a gift and place it under the tree. (In our home we write what we’re giving Jesus on slips of paper, wrap it up in a little box, and place it by the nativity. It could be a commitment to pray more, love better, forgive quicker.)

Let’s Pray

Precious Jesus, forgive me for getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and forgetting why I’m doing this in the first place. Help me to rein in the retail frenzy and keep You the focus of the holiday season. I can’t wait to honor You in my home this Christmas Day.

In Your name I pray,


Now It’s Your Turn

What are three ways that you keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season? Let’s share ideas over at my Facebook page.

Here are three of mine.

  • At dinnertime, we pray for the people who send us Christmas Cards.
  • I have a collection of nativity sets from around the world and place them in various rooms.
  • We read Luke 2 and pray on Christmas morning before we open any gifts.

More from the Girlfriends

If you would like more Christmas inspiration and ideas on how to keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season, check out my book, Celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas: Ideas from A-Z. And while you’re there, make sure and peruse the other titles for those on your gift list. You can give a lot of hope in one little book.

5 Responses to “Inviting Jesus to His Birthday Celebration”

  1. Karen says:

    My husband and I were so blessed with a daughter after 6 years of marriage so we wanted to show our tremendous love for her and thanks to God for her especially after having been told that I’d never have any children. One Christmas season when she was 4 we asked her what gifts she’d like, and as usual she said she’d like what we wanted her to have but one thing she’d like this particular year was that if we could, could we please take one of her gifts back so that we could give a gift to someone who wouldn’t otherwise receive a gift. I tell you I was so moved by the wisdom gifted on this child by the Holy Spirit. We found an orphanage in our area and gave coloring books, crayons and cupcakes to all the children in my daughter’s age group. My daughter commented that she didn’t understand why we were giving her gifts, it was Jesus’ birthday so for years to come we had a birthday party for Jesus. My daughter is 29 years old now, married with children of her own. They don’t go to church YET but I know there’s a brighter day coming by faith because I believe God is working behind the scenes far beyond what I can see and my understanding can fathom. The Bible says that when I pray that the Holy Spirit is making utterances that I don’t understand so I know that there’ going to come a time that they will find themselves taking their 2 lovely children to church.

  2. Mina says:

    We have a gold gift box that we write our gifts to Jesus on and place them in the box. Throughout the year we keep one another accountable on these. We also have one box with a gift from God. Inside the decorated box is a rolled up sheet with the scripture John 3:16. We will sit down on Christmas Eve and read that outlook praying to our Lord and thanking him again for this wonderful gift of Jesus.

    Thank you Sharon for your wonderful devotions and sharing with all of us.


  3. Jen says:

    Our dessert for Christmas dinner is always a birthday cake for Jesus. The kids and I have fun decorating it on Christmas eve and talking about the things Jesus has done for us the past year.

  4. Dahlia says:

    I’am praying that our family will have a love filled Christ-centered celebration this Christmas.
    I’am also praying for our unity.
    Please pray for us.
    Please pray with me.
    Thank you.

  5. Marleen says:

    Ah yes, The Special Birthday I think of all people, the Birthday Guest honor should know just what makes it sooooo special. Christ-inclusive Christmas.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8