One of our favorite Christmas traditions is the Jesus Birthday Party we host for family friends. Even so, we talked about taking this year off. But I just didn’t want to – and I’m glad we didn’t!
So we crammed it in the calendar on a recent Sunday afternoon and invited many families from school, church, and our small-town lives. Many of those people had scheduling conflicts because, well, December.
I planned some ornament crafts, asked my oldest to read from Luke 2, ordered some delicious cupcakes, and organized collections for the local food pantry and pregnancy crisis center. My husband and two oldest kids wanted to play musical chairs, so that was on the agenda too.
Each year we do slightly different things and have different people who are able to attend. And each year something different strikes me as meaningful.
During the party, I reflected on sharing everyday moments with families and how that’s among the things my kids will remember about childhood. Friendships change with seasons & schedules, but those relationships help shape us. Even though this year’s party was simpler and smaller than other years’ events, I am especially grateful to have gathered with families who have known us for many years.
As far as the party goes, I really loved reading our kids’ responses on this birthday card to Jesus, hearing my fourth-grader read from Luke 2 to her peers, seeing friends who have literally grown up together connect in simple ways, and collecting items that help our neighbors.
The tradition was one started for the kids to understand why we celebrate Christmas, but this year I think it may have happened so I could remember where God has me and what he’s called me to do.
Greg and I are starting a new small group in the new year, and the birthday party for Jesus offered affirmation that I believe we are supposed to serve this community we call home. Our new small group is going to focus on being the light of the world here where we live and provide opportunities for hands-on service projects. I’m excited to see what God does through this desire we have.
We thought we were bringing canned goods, diapers, and wipes for others in Jesus’ name to celebrate his birthday, but I left with the gifts that come with living generously in community.