Over the past few months, we've noticed James' 4-year-old understanding of spiritual things and his interest and questions regarding most anything has grown exponentially. Of course, this is so cute and amazing to see the world open up in a child's eyes, but as a parent, it's certainly a bit daunting to take on the responsibility of introducing the right things to your child. In terms of Christmas, it's been the recent conversation around our house of how do we help James experience the positive aspects of the secular Christmas season while truly connecting the dots to Jesus--understanding gratitude for all the gifts he's been given in his life and anticipating and celebrating the birth of our Savior.
To intentionally address these recent questions, on the first night of December, we hosted one of the most precious parties that we have ever thrown--a birthday party for Jesus! We are obviously not the only ones desiring to point our kids to Jesus during this time of year, so we figured all of our friends with small kids would be the perfect guests to attend this little celebration. Since we love a good party theme, we decided to focus on one of the most meaningful and beautiful symbols of Christmas, the star. We found a great big lighted Moravian star on Amazon to hang outside our front door, then we had cut-out star peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids and even star-shaped cookies as party favors. Hopefully when these little ones see a star now, it will remind them who to keep looking for during Christmastime and the whole year through.
It was so beautiful to see families gather in our home as we fellowshipped over dinner, then read a version of the Christmas story (from our favorite kid's Bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible), explained the significance of the candy cane, and ended the night with Christmas carols led by our friend Andrew Jed (check out his new Christmas song here, sung by a fellow worship leader from our church, Caitlin Coffelt), culminating in "Happy Birthday Jesus". My heart was so warmed at the sight of all those precious kids gathered around our dining room table singing and all trying to blow out the candles. Just behind them, our mini-Christmas tree was lit up brightly and overflowing with presents underneath it. This birthday party was a bit different than most our kids had previously experienced, seeing as the guest of honor, Baby Jesus, was not in attendance, in the traditional sense at least. But as they laid their presents for inner city kids in LA under the tree, I think they may have understood that those gifts actually were for Baby Jesus and just might be better than the ones they will find for themselves under their own trees soon.
As Jay and I washed dishes and straightened up after the festivities were done, we both agreed that we may have just started a new annual tradition in the Wolf house...