Happy Birthday Jesus!

by Kathy Howard

A few years ago, while speaking at a ladies’ Christmas event, something unexpected happened. I had planned to read portions of the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke. But as I began to read from my open Bible, I discovered I did not need it. The words flowed from memory – KJV style.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  Luke 2:4-5 KJV

But I’ve never purposefully worked to memorize those sections of Scripture. The passages were imbedded in my heart simply because my father read them to our family every Christmas Eve. It was part of our family tradition. My dad desired to keep our hearts and minds on the real meaning of Christmas. To keep Jesus at the center. He felt the same way about Easter, Thanksgiving, and every other holiday. While he enjoyed the cultural aspects of these celebrations, he always honored God first and encouraged us to do the same.

As our own children grew, my husband and I worked to carry on that legacy. For instance, when our kids were old enough to understand, I began baking a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve. We even had candles and sang “Happy Birthday.” It was a simple, but effective way to help our children remember why we celebrate Christmas. Like the magi, we worshipped Jesus.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 KJV

Jesus is also the reason for all the other celebrations in Scripture. On one level, the Old Testament feasts celebrate God’s physical provision and miraculous deliverance. But ultimately, they all point to the coming Savior and His provision of eternal life.

As each holiday and family celebration approaches, we can find creative ways to keep Jesus central. For instance, for Christmas, make a birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. For Thanksgiving, print psalms that express gratitude to God and ask different family members to take turns reading them at the dinner table.

As our families enjoy holidays and other special events, let’s intentionally point them to Jesus. Let’s make Him the center of our days and the center of our families. Whatever else we may celebrate, let’s acknowledge Jesus first. He gives us every reason to celebrate. Jesus is every reason to celebrate.

**This post is adapted from Kathy’s new book, “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate and richest coffee. She searches for cherished stories of faith that still impact hearts. And, she digs deep into God’s Word, mining His eternal truths for herself and to share with others. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events. She has a Masters of Christian Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary.

Kathy is the author of 10 books, including the “Deep Rooted” devotional series and “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” (October 2021).  Kathy and her husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Kathy provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org.


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