Each December, we sing “Happy Birthday” with a chorus of friends. We eat cake, bring donations, make crafts, and hang out with other families.
But the honoree is no regular man. He’s the savior of the world. <<Click to Tweet
Our birthday party for Jesus has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
Kids understand birthday parties. They look forward to their own, and they like receiving invitations to other parties. I want my kids to grow up understanding that Christmas is a season full of sparkly lights, wrapped boxes, and goodwill toward men — only because of Jesus.
So, we throw a birthday party for Jesus to remind the kids who is worth celebrating – this day and every other day of the year. We collect items for a of couple charities, make crafts to share with neighbors who need something to brighten their days, and hear the Christmas story after singing carols. We savor fellowship with other families who want to dwell on this holiday truth.
The fact that Jesus was born is a reminder that God is with us. He walked this earth. <<Click to Tweet
He experienced physical life in the same ways we do. He felt pain; he experienced hunger, thirst, exhaustion. And he gave that life up for us. So why not celebrate him — that tiny babe who changed our world with his birth?
Our tradition began with three families. And then it expanded to include more of our circle of friends. While every year is a little different, our celebration always points to Jesus. This year was our fifth annual birthday party for Jesus. (We skipped 2014 because, well, life happens.)
You can plan a Jesus Birthday Party too. Here’s a checklist to get you started:
Pick a date in December. I want the kids to associate this birthday party with Christmas, so I find a date between Thanksgiving and Christmas and schedule the event. Consider what time would be best for your circle of friends. The time has varied each year, but this time we had a mid-afternoon party and served cake and ice cream.
Let your friends know as early as possible. December calendars get busy fast. I emailed invitations and set up a Facebook group this year.
Choose charitable projects. In the past, we’ve collected canned goods for our local food pantry and money to buy gifts from Compassion International’s holiday catalog. You could have a toy drive or make cards to give out at nursing homes. This year we collected for the food pantry again, as well as two ministries that work with families in Guatemala.
Plan activities. Consider crafts, songs, books, and games that can incorporate the meaning of Christmas. We’ve made cards, created manger scenes out of candy, drawn pictures, made Advent paper chains, and had a children’s concert. I ordered ornament crafts from Oriental Trading this year and the kids put those together to share with someone they know. My husband typically reads the Christmas story – sometimes from a children’s book like The Jesus Storybook Bible and other times from Luke 2 – and leads a few carols.
Serve food. The time of the day will determine how much and what kind food you’ll offer, but you’ll want to make it fun and festive, just like a regular family birthday party. You’ll also want to make sure you have a birthday cake for Jesus. Just don’t try to do it all yourself – ask your friends and family to help by bringing a dish.
Include party hats, goody bags, and other things that kids relate to birthday parties. Oriental Trading has a nice selection of “Happy birthday, Jesus” and nativity party favors and activities. Jesus was born, and that’s a life worth celebrating. Make it tangible for the kids.
Of course, there are many great ways to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This birthday party is one of several things my family does to focus on giving and God’s glory. Some traditions make it on our calendar every December. Other opportunities come when we’re least expecting them.
But wherever we are, we can always let our lives sing “Happy Birthday” to the one who came to save us – and that’s the best gift.
Kristin Hill Taylor believes in seeking God as the author of every story. She tells her favorite story about how God made her a mom through adoption (twice!) in an ebook called “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family,” which is available at Amazon. God continues to surprise her with all the ways her life is nothing like she expected. Kristin lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her college sweetheart husband, Greg, and their two kids, Cate and Ben.