A custom that many families are familiar with is singing the song “Happy Birthday” on Christmas Day. While not your traditional Christmas hymn, its straightforward lyrics help children understand the true meaning of Christmas.
For children, it’s easy to wake up on Christmas Day and go straight for the presents underneath the tree or raid the stockings hanging by the fireplace. They soon forget about Jesus and immediately turn their thoughts to the many gifts before them.
However, one way to interrupt this process is by having the children sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. You might even bake a birthday cake that features an image of the baby Jesus. Some families even have the children create “birthday presents” to Jesus that they drop off at the manger scene in church.
These things are simple and may even seem strange to do at first, but it’s a helpful reminder that Christmas is in fact a birth-day.
In English this is more difficult to remember as our word for December 25 has no reference to “birth.” However, in other languages, the word for Christmas recalls the meaning of the day.
In Spanish and Italian, Christmas is called “Navidad” and “Natale,” both coming from the Latin word “nativitas,” meaning “birth.”
Whatever family traditions you choose, try to remember the “reason for the season” and consider adding traditions that emphasize the religious aspect of Christmas, a day that is known as Jesus’ birthday.
The beautiful Polish tradition of breaking bread on Christmas Eve
A beautiful Christmas prayer from the 4th century