Mary’s Take on Today’s Christmas

S everal years ago, I came across the following. It was a letter that could have been written by Mary, the mother of Jesus. At the beginning of each holiday season, I pull it out and read it again to help me keep Jesus the focus of this grand celebration we call Christmas.

I want to share this poignant reminder with you as we seek to keep Jesus the center of our lives, the focus of the season, and reason for the joy of Christmas.

Dear Joseph,

Last night I had the strangest dream. 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 6 weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes and 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 houses. 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?”

Love,
Mary

I wonder if that stirred your heart as much as it did mine. I want to make sure that is NOT true in my home, don’t you? All through the month of December, I’m going to share ways to keep Jesus the focus of the holiday season from my book, Celebrating a Christ Centered Christmas. And I’ve love to hear your ideas as well.

CelebratingaChristCenteredChristmas_CD

Here’s my first idea:

1. Pray for the people who send you Christmas cards.  We place all our Christmas cards in a basket by the kitchen table. At dinner time, we pull out two cards and pray for the person or the family who sent the card. We continue this through Christmas and into the New Year until every sender is prayed for.

2. Now you share one of your ideas. I’ve got my pen and notepad ready!

28 Responses to Mary’s Take on Today’s Christmas

  1. Priscilla Guerrero December 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    As a family tradition every year before opening the presents christmas eve or morning we say what each of us are thankful for and we say a prayer together as a family.

    • Valerie December 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

      We write Christmas Scrolls. Each Christmas Eve or Christmas Day we use pretty paper to write what we’re thankful for the past year, then tie up with ribbons and put in the tree. When we’re gathered together after dinner, we take turns reading them with our family get-together. It is a bonding time and a thankful expression to God and to one another.

  2. Teresa R December 3, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    Take a white sheet and tear it into strips. Fold in half, attach a gold cord/ribbon as loop. Make a tag with Luke 2:7, attach to cloth. Give as party favors or attach to gifts

  3. Padma December 3, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Every Christmas morning. we would make small , packets of goodies. My Dad used to then give these to the beggars on the streets and share with them about the significance of Christmas Day. This was in Pune, India.

  4. Hilary December 3, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Hello Sharon
    We have an Advent Tree. It starts as a bare branch but we add a decoration each day until it is full on Christmas Eve. The decorations are all linked to a bible verse or words from a carol.
    For example, we add a small globe because “God so loved the world He gave His only Son”, a heart because “Love came down at Christmas, Love all loving, Love divine” and a miniature fimo loaf of bread because Christ said “This is my body, broken for you.” We also add a cross, grapes, an angel, shepherd, kings, Mary and Joseph, a robin, a snowflake and others (24 in all), all linked to special words, which keep us focussed on Jesus.
    We have done this for many years now and have watched our children grow up with this tradition. They still are full of excitement and anticipation as they add things each day!

    • Sharon Jaynes December 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      We had something like that. We called it a Jesse Tree. The ornaments were pinned on a quilted wall hanging in the shape of a tree.

  5. Patty December 3, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Give a gift every day for the month of December.

    Giving is the key!

  6. Lou December 3, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Read aloud The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. It’s a children’s story with beautiful illustrations and a lovely message about the wonder/beauty/delight of the nativity. We have passed the book around from family member to family member, each reading a page.

  7. Rae Bates December 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Every year we put up a stocking for Jesus. During the season I write a letter to Him expressing my gratitude for the blessings ofthe year and what I hope to do for Him (or at least in his name) in the coming year. I place that letter in the stocking.

  8. Misty December 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    We actually have a birthday party for Jesus. I bake a cake on Christmas eve, and Christmas morning’s breakfast is cake! We sing to Him, happy birthday, etc. A towonderful way to begin His birthday celebration!

  9. Lynn Zabler December 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Everyday from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25th do one act of kindness toward anyone, a family member, a stranger, etc. Even if it is praying for the homeless man you just saw on the street, or offering a very cold salvation army volunteer a cup of hot chocolate, or an army vet with a warm embrace of thanks.
    Everytime you do an act of kindness to one of God’s children you are doing it to Him.

    • Melissa December 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your ideas. They are wonderful! 🙂 Blessings to you and your family.

  10. Paige December 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Place a sparkling box (or hand crafted by your kids box) on your fireplace or by your tree. All through December every time someone does something to serve or share God’s love with others place a piece of paper in the box of what was done. This may even be ways that you have seen your children serving others. On Christmas morning before you open gifts, open this gift and read all the pieces of paper as your families gift to Jesus!

  11. Stephanie December 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    I do the same as Misty. Christmas eve I bake a cake and we sing happy birthday to Jesus. We also read the Christmas story in Luke.

  12. Angela December 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Wow!! A definite eye-opener!! Praise God, I was raised & am raising my sons that we include Jesus in our CHRISTmas!! I am so thankful that God sent Him to us! Happy Birthday to my Saviour!!!!!!

  13. Carlisa Choate December 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Christmas morning all of our children gather in our bed (they are now 19, 18, 17 and 14 and we still do this since they were 2) and we each say how we appreciate what Jesus has done for us. My husband then leads us into prayer and we light the one candle on a Birthday Cake for the One who died for us. We sing Happy Birthday Jesus! Let the candle die out then proceed downstairs for gift giving and cake for breakfast.

    • Anita December 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

      This brought tears of delight to my eyes!

  14. Sharon December 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Wow. Thank you for sharing! I have posted this on FB. so my friends can read it too. God bless

  15. Debbie December 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    We make a angle food cake say a prayer and then sing happy birthday to Jesus.

  16. Liz Munson December 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Sharon,
    This is something that I like to do in the midst of all the busyness of the season. When I am getting groceries and I put my hands on the grocery cart, I pray for the last person who used that cart. I pray that God will draw him/her to Himself. I pray for that person’s relationships, for their marriage and family. I pray for restoration of relationships. I pray for physical healing and for their finances .I pray that someone will cross their path who has a real and vibrant relationship with God.

    Then…guess what I do when I am putting my cart back? You guessed it! I pray the same for the next person who will put their hands on that cart. It elevates grocery shopping to a whole new level and leaves me very excited about what God will do in their lives!

    And I continue that all year. Who knew grocery shopping could be so exciting?

    Love, Liz M

    • Sharon Jaynes December 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      Liz, that is awesome. I’m going to start doing that every time I go to the grocery store!

    • Annell December 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      This is a wonderful idea! Instead of just doing it during the Christmas season, I will do it all year round.

  17. Sharla December 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    When my kids were young, we kept a basket of Christmas books with the real Christmas story under the tree. Every night we read one of the books by the twinkling lights of the tree while the kids had hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.

  18. Vonnie Kronk December 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    I now have a nativity & baby Jesus is missing Until Christmas morning & my grandkids can’t wait to see him. I think I will add Debbie’s comment above this year & every year after “We make a angle food cake say a prayer and then sing happy birthday to Jesus” Thanks!

  19. Colette Craig December 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Every year on Christmas Eve we light a candle and sing happy birthday to Jesus. I have done this since I was a little girl and continue to do it with my children. It teaches then that the season and holiday are really about Jesus and his gifts to us.

  20. Marianne Orr December 4, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    My thought after reading your beautiful devotion was to have every member of my family write down someone’s name that doesn’t know Jesus, it could even be themselves and wrap up their name in a gift box and agree to pray for that person throughout the year. Then next year reflect on how their prayers changed that persons life I will also give them a copy of Mary’s letter to Jesus. Thank you so much for the devotion.

  21. Kimberly Garton December 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    We celebrate Jesus’ birthday with a birthday cake on Christmas Eve as well. I have tried very hard to mix today’s traditions into the true meaning. For example, instead of cookies for Santa, we leave him a big piece of Jesus’ Birthday Cake. Santa only brings 3 gifts for each child, just like the Kings brought 3 gifts to Jesus. Our Nativity pieces are displayed on our Dining Room Table for everyone to see. We have a wooden, hand carved Nativity ornament that is always placed just below the Angel Tree Top on the tree. I always read about the birth of Jesus before I read The Night Before Christmas, while they are still wide awake. Thanks so much for sharing the letter, I will include that in my Christmas Eve reading. Merry Christmas.

  22. Chaplain Deb December 4, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    When we trim our tree, we start out with nothing and turn off all the house lights. Then someone (with a flashlight, obviously) reads from Genesis 1 and 2, up to the part where darkness was on the face of the deep. Then Oldest Son gets ready and when we read “God said….” he plugs in the CHristmas tree lights, and we all yell “LET THERE BE LIGHT!” as the tree lights come on. We read about how Jesus said “I am the light of the world,” and “The people who dwelt in darkness have seen a great light.”

    We have ornaments that go with the other days of creation as well. We have a lot of fun decorating the tree, reading the Creation story, and talking about how Jesus was behind it all.
    We share our celebration with nursing home residents; several of whom we’ve adopted as our special grandparents. The kids have great fun choosing gifts for them, and “helping” them open the gifts. And we always have a gift tag that points them to Jesus.
    On Christmas Day, we sit around the fireplace with all six kids and read the Christmas story.We put the pieces in the creche one at a time, but Baby Jesus is missing! The kids scatter and search eagerly for Him, and whoever finds Him gets to put Him in the manger and start Christmas!
    All these things have evolved over time, until now the kids are starting to go off to college. But they all still come back for Christmas.

Leave a Reply