Christmas is such a special and magical time of year, filled with family traditions and warm memories. It is a time of singing carols, lighting the Christmas tree, putting out decorations, lighting the Advent candles, exchanging gifts, and rejoicing in the birth of our Lord and Savior. During a time when presents and Santa can dominate conversations, it’s hard sometimes to make sure we don’t miss out on the true reason we are celebrating Christmas. 

I was blessed to grow up in a Christian family where my grandparents and parents helped to keep our focus on Jesus at Christmas time. Of all our traditions, my favorite was reading the Christmas Story. On Christmas Day we would all gather around the tree and, prior to opening our eagerly awaited presents, read the biblical account of Christ’s birth as told in Luke 2:1-20. I’ve passed this tradition on to my daughter and her family.

When my grandson was three years old, I added a nativity set to the reading of the Scripture. As each character was introduced, they were added to the scene. It was my grandson’s job to add baby Jesus. When the time came, he put Jesus on top of the stable. I told him that Jesus needed to go in the straw crib next to Mary and Joseph. He looked at me with deep concern and said, “Jesus is in heaven. He’s waiting for us there. I thought you knew this.” And, of course, he was right!

The reason for celebrating Christmas brought a whole new meaning that day. Looking at the birth of Christ through my grandson’s little eyes let me see beyond the night of our Savior’s birth to where He is now. Luke 2:10 tells us the angels said, “… I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The good news is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His truth produces the joy in our lives. A small boy with huge insight added deeper meaning to a family tradition passed down through generations. In his child-like innocence he saw the bigger picture beyond the manger.

My grandson is now 17 and we still put baby Jesus on top of the stable as a reminder that our Lord, Jesus Christ, is in heaven waiting for us. The “good news of great joy” wasn’t just for the night of Christ’s birth but for all eternity.

May God bless you and your family as you keep Christ and the good news of His birth the center of celebrating this Christmas season.

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