I could hear my sister and my cousin plotting as we ran up the stairs to get ready for our annual Christmas Eve play.
“Hey! You guys always get to be Mary … but I want to be Mary this year!” I yelled as I followed closely behind them.
My sister turned around just in time to catch a glimpse of my puppy dog eyes.
“Oh fine,” she replied. “I’ll be the shepherd.”
We spent the next 10 minutes dividing the remaining roles and preparing for our big curtain call. Then it was lights, camera, action. Time for the grandkids to act out the story of the birth of Jesus for the whole family to see. And for a grand finale, my gramma would bring out the “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake, thoughtfully topped with one candle to signify our one and only Savior’s birth.
Before any talk of presents. Before the hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies. Before the caroling music. Before anything else, Christmas was and forever will be about Jesus in my family. And although traditions have changed somewhat since we were kids (we don’t do the play anymore, we just read the Bible instead) some traditions stay the same, like our treasured Jesus cake.
When I was growing up, it was pretty common for teachers to ask students to share their holiday traditions with the class. And while I used to be embarrassed to talk about the Jesus cake, today I’m proud of the unique tradition. In fact, it’s become one of my most favorite things about Christmas.
Last year, my husband and I couldn’t make it to my gramma’s Christmas Eve celebration, so I asked her to send me a picture of the cake in my absence. There’s something about preparing a cake for and singing to my Savior that brings me so much joy.
There are so many reasons not to choose joy during the holiday season, and if we don’t keep our focus on the reason for the season, we end up focusing on the wrong things — things that fill us with sadness and sorrow.
Things like not having enough money to buy everyone the presents you wanted to buy them. Things like not having the prettiest outfit to show off to all your family members. Things like not feeling beautiful enough to be in family photos. Things like that diagnosis you just received. Things like that boy who just broke your heart and left you dateless. Things like that friend that just stopped calling.
Please join me over at the Raising an Arrow blog to read the rest of this post, which I wrote for Leigh Ellen’s holiday traditions series!
Does your family have any traditions that help you remember the true reason for the season? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.