Five years ago, my wife and I started incorporating the celebration of Advent leading up to Christmas Day. Our Advent celebration unveils ornaments every day from December 1 until Christmas Day.
The story starts with creation and then includes themes such as the root of Jesse, the House of David and many other prophecies from Scripture pointing to the coming of Jesus. Each day reveals a verse from the Old Testament and one from the New. We read these with our kids each day and unwrap ornaments, which they place on a special tree. As we do this, we see how the prophecy is told and fulfilled. It’s really cool to see how everything plays out, from how Jesus was going to die, to where He was going to be born, to the fact no bones would be crushed. There are so many details which God included about this major event.
Our kids really look forward to hanging the ornaments on our little tree. It’s one of the best new traditions we’ve started that builds up toward Christmas Day. Whenever you have a big release, whether it’s a movie or a book, there’s always a big build up. You look forward to it, tell people about it, advertise for it and study it. With Advent, we grow more and more excited for the big day the closer we get. And we grow more amazed by all the implications of how Jesus was going to come and how He has impacted the history of mankind.
In our family, we try to keep the main thing the main thing. As parents, we don’t always do the best job, but we try. For our first Christmas with kids, we had enough presents in our home to fill a small country. We wanted to get everything and anything for our kids. But we soon realized that, while we still like to give each other a few gifts, we want the focus on this holiday to be about Jesus. So we start the day by reading the story of Jesus in the Book of Luke. We might serve somewhere too, but we always talk about the reason why we give and why we serve: It’s about Jesus.
We don’t often think of John 3:16 as a Christmas verse, but that’s exactly what it is. This verse says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In fact, this is the Christmas verse! Love means that a person seeks the best for the object of their affection. Because of God’s great love for us, He gave us His best — His Son.
That’s why we celebrate Christmas. Yes, we have fun, we give gifts, we watch Christmas specials, and we eat good food, but this is a celebration about our Savior — what He’s done for us and who He is. We were dead in our sins, but God fulfilled the promise He made to us in the garden at the beginning. He created a way for us to come back to Him. This is the fulfillment.
— Benjamin Watson, former NFL tight end
Benjamin Watson is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Benjamin’s Increase profile here.
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