Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19 NIV).


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 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 I 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 were 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 tension 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.

Today’s Truth says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19 NIV). What were her treasures? A child in her arms. A shepherd’s visit. An angel’s proclamation. A deep-seated heart of gratitude. A promise made true.

These are treasures of Christmas. Jesus’ birthday is a reason to celebrate every day. This year let’s make sure to invite the honored guest to His birthday celebration.


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 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, Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

What are three ways that you keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season? Click on comment and let’s share.

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

Click here for 3 Christmas FREEBIES from Sharon Jaynes to help you Celebrate a Christ-Centered Christmas.

Do you long for something more in your relationship with God. The good news is that “something more” does not mean “doing more.” Learn how to experience God’s presence right smack dab in the middle of your busy day in Sharon’s book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More.



© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.


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21 Responses to “Don’t Forget to Invite the Honored Guest”

  1. Sylvia says:

    3 ways that I keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season. 1 Thank him for coming to earth and dying for me,Thank him for saving me, thank him for allowing me to be able to have a Christmas dinner.

  2. Sharrese T. says:

    1. We attend early morning Christmas service at church before any gifts are opened.

    2. To family/friends we try to give “Jesus,” gifts that promote a closer walk (gratitude journals, books, etc.)

    3. One gift to our child. I remember when she was about 8 she asked (not in a sad way but total curiosity) why we only bought her 1 gift each year. (Mind you after grandparents, family/friends – she always received a lot, but at home only 1) I replied, you know how every year for your birthday you receive all the gifts but we also give your guests a goodie bag to-go as a thank you for attending your celebration? My daughter, yes. Me, well Christmas is Jesus’ birthday and the gift you receive is a party favor for attending His celebration. That’s also why we don’t open gifts before we honor Him. She was perfectly fine & never asked again. I will say the 1 gift only rule was more of a sacerifice on my part as I really like to shop & my 2nd love language is gifts – yikes! But HBD Jesus ❤️

  3. Donna Jones says:

    I can’t believe my sentiments were so eloquently stated in this writing, I gave up what I have called “Commercialized Christmas” years ago because I began to realize Jesus was left out of His own birthday celebration.
    I pray this writing brings enlightenment to all that read it and we will all learn to keep Jesus as the focal point of Christmas (the day of celebration of His birth). After all, it’s what we expect for our birthday celebrations, right?

  4. Lisa McKinney says:

    What a sad truth…Jesus is the reason for the season. When our son was about 11 (he’s now 18) we quit doing big gift giving. He realized Santa wouldn’t be bringing the big gifts he had always gotten (that’s how it was growing up at my house). We now have him write down the 4 items he wants: something you want, something you need, something for fun, something to read. And stockings hung. I’ve traded our big tree for a small pencil tree with stacking pretty boxes but most are empty. We celebrate Christmas Eve at church, the sanctuary ornately decorated, the hymns we love. Then home to watch Christmas Vacation. We now spend $ not on gifts but on making memories and traveling. Our grandkids aren’t too thrilled…so I took them to Disneyland this summer and I told them this is your birthday and Christmas gifts. My 33 year old daughter would have 40-50 gifts under the tree from all her relatives, as she was the first grand, great grand, etc…. I’ve kept her Polly Pockets, which my granddaughter now plays with. My 18 year old, I’ve kept his Thomas the Tank Engine. We turned the reason for the season back on the true meaning, Jesus. Beautiful devotional, Sharon. So very true. Thank you!

  5. Carol says:

    Sharon, I loved the letter from Mary.
    Just recently, I read a book called “Godspace”(author, can’t recall). It has changed my perspective on a lot of things regarding God’s meaning of Sabbath, and how I respect Him in my home.( I now, have a framed print by David Bowman called “Home” and it helps remind me, that His presence is here and it reminds others of Him, too.)
    Christmas now, is time for me to reach out to others by phone call or old-school cards.
    Volunteering for community-out reach projects through my church. Enjoying my small,tabletop tree at night and my small ceramic trees (Sharon, still remember your writing about the garage sale, and that ceramic tree!) I just want to be more aware of the gifts Jesus gives us all the time (all the fruits of the Spirit and so much more!)
    Thank you, for your faithfulness to those of us that follow GIG writings.

  6. Amy H says:

    Hi Sharon 😊 my mom performed that poem as a dramatic monologue in church when I was younger, and it has always impacted me.
    3 ways we keep Jesus at the center of Christmas? At least one overlaps yours:

    1. We read the Christmas story in Luke 1st thing on Christmas morning
    2. We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus
    3. Every year for many years now, we have each chosen a “gift” for Jesus that we give him in the form of a letter. For example, one year I gave Jesus worry, and from that point on I made it a habit to not use the word worry in my vocabulary and to lay down any worrisome thought that entered my mind. That turned out to be far more of a gift for me, but I believe Jesus enjoyed helping me learn to stop worrying as he tells us to in his Word. We save the letters and I go back and read them from time to time. Its one of my favorite things!

  7. Mardiece says:

    For many years, I have read the children’s story called “The Three Trees” by Angela E. Hunt to my kids on Christmas Eve. It’s a wonderful story about three trees who have big dreams and how the coming of Christ fulfilled them all. I cry every time I read it.
    My kids are grown now, but I found a version of the book that allows you to record your reading on each page. It was really a gift from God as I have never seen a book like that before. I recorded myself reading it to them so they could one day share it with their children, too.
    Thank you for your faithfulness, Sharon! Be well and blessed.

  8. CJ says:

    What a great message. Not only is my family doing Christmas, but we are in the midst of planning a wedding. This was good stuff for the stresses that come with this. Ultimately, a wedding is to honor God. I passed it on to a few……let’s not forget to invite Jesus in all of the details, all of the choices, all of the planning.

  9. Liz says:

    I loved the letter from Mary. Wow! It kind of hits you. Thank You for taking the time to encourage and challenge us all.

  10. Susan says:

    Sharon, thank you for this devotion. It was on my mind and heart all day yesterday. It brought conviction and sadness. Just thinking about the sadness and confusion that Mary felt when she saw all this celebration, yet no acknowledgement of the Person we were to be celebrating. I love your idea of praying for the people who send you cards. We, too, receive cards from people who I don’t think know Jesus as their Savior. Every year, I wonder what it’s like, or the reasons why so many choose to participate in a religious holiday when they don’t believe in the source of the celebration. When our kids were young, we really tried to keep Jesus as the focus whether through the books we read in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, going to church, singing songs in the car….but as they grew older, we made less of an effort. We still went to church but all those other things weren’t as easy to do together on a regular basis. Mary was so relieved to wake up and realize it was all a dream but I know different….what Mary “saw” was real. Sharon, thank you for shedding a light on this for me!

  11. Patrice says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s so perfectly fitting. It’s grievous to live in a country where we have freedom of religion and yet, all too often, don’t take advantage of it. We need to give the Lord the time and honor that he obviously deserves. May Christ be in the forefront of our Christmas celebrations.

  12. Marcela says:

    We as a family so these three things:
    1. I bake a cake and we sing happy birthday to Jesus (for us there’s no birthday without cake involved)
    2. We have an ornament wich states that Jesus is the reason for this season.
    3. From December 16th to December 24, each day we read a Bible versicle or story about His announcement and born.

"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