The most important thing is that we, as moms, do not forget that Christmas is a CELEBRATION, not a time of stress and tension and mom chasing so many to do lists that she has forgotten to enjoy her kids.
In our home, like most of yours, birthday parties have a theme. We’ve celebrated with Butterflies, Cinderella, Guess How Much I Love You, a luau, BBQs, and Peter Rabbit Garden Parties to name a few. The theme for the most special birthday of the year, Jesus’ Birthday Party, is a Tree Trimming Party.
At my house, our Tree Trimming Party is a Birthday Party for Jesus where we serve cupcakes and Banana Splits, play Christmas music, decorate the tree, and give a gift to Jesus.
Most of us have trees in our homes laden with family ornaments from grandma and loved ones celebrating Baby’s 1st Christmas, Toothfairy ornaments for the first lost tooth, a Bicycle for the year Johnny learned to ride a bike, and other special family milestones. We have a small purple tree in our home for just that purpose. Because I have two girls, purple seemed appropriate. You’ll find Disney Princess ornaments, Gingerbread Men, Ice Cream Sundaes, and all sorts of ornaments from grandparents and aunts. This tree is very special to my girls because it celebrates them.
Our large tree, however, has an altogether different theme. When I was 20 years old, I moved out on my own for the first time. I remember clearly that I was very excited to have my very own Christmas tree, and I wanted a special theme for that tree. I brainstormed and studied and spent months planning the ornaments for the tree, and that theme is what I want to share with you today.
Our large tree is decorated specifically for the Birthday Boy. Each ornament is specifically selected to celebrate the milestones in the life of Christ.
This is a party, a birthday party for Jesus and our gift to Him is a tree celebrating His gift of eternal life.
1) LIGHT / CANDLE: Jesus came as light of the world.
Isaiah 9: 2, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
2) DOVE symbol of PEACE: Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9: 6-7, “ For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”
Matthew 1: 18-22, “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, God with us.’ When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
3) VIRGIN MARY: A virgin will give birth to a child.
Isaiah 7: 14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
4) ANGEL: God's messengers were the first to announce the birth of the Christ child.
Luke 1: 26-38, “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at His words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.”
5) JOY: The Angel told Mary Jesus would be a Joy unto her and many would worship Him.
Luke 1: 14, “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of His birth.”
6) SHEPHERD'S STAFF: We call it a candy cane. But the shepherd staff reminds us of the first visitors to worship the Christ Child. The red and white colors will be mentioned again in other passage.
Luke 2: 8-15, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
7) STAR: God proclaimed His truth in creation by lighting up the heavens with a star that announced the birth of Christ the King.
Matthew 2:1-9, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”
8) GIFTS: God sent His son and that's the greatest gift of all. Gifts also represent the significant gifts of the Magi. If they don't show our love for our family or friends, then they shouldn't be given.
Matthew 2:10-11, “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
9) LAMB: Jesus was a Sacrificial Lamb
Isaiah 53: 7, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Note – Isaiah 53 tells the entire story of the trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.
John 1: 29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!”
10) CROSS: Reminding us of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to pay for our sins, but also our call to take up our cross and follow Him.
Excerpted from Mark Chapters 15 & 16, “"What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them. "Crucify him!" they shouted. "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. It was the third hour when they crucified him. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!"
In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself ! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him."
11) NAIL: Reminder of Christ’s Sacrifice and the miracle of the Resurrection.
John 20: 24-29, “Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
12) CHRISTMAS TREE: Symbolizes that our God is eternal and we have eternal life through His Son when we put our trust in Him. Just as the evergreen never changes color or loses it leaves, likewise the character of Jesus is always the same.
Hebrews 13: 8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
13) HEART: God LOVED us so much that He sacrificed His Son for us!
John 3:16-18, "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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.”
14) BELLS: Bells ring to call people to worship.
Psalm 100, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
15) CROWN – We are children of the King of Kings.
John 1:12, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (The King of Kings)
16) SNOWFLAKES: Reminding us that Jesus’ blood washes our sins white as snow.
Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
So, what must we do in order that our sins are washed white as snow?
Scripture tells us that we are all sinners and separated from the kingdom of God unless we are born again.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
John 3:3 states, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Acts 4:12 tells us, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved, other than the name of Jesus Christ.”
Because we are all sinners and that sin separates us from a relationship with the most Holy God, there had to be a consequence for that sin. The Lord sent His son, Jesus to pay that price.
2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that, ‘God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
I Peter 3:18 tells us, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
And that was God’s gift to us.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8
So, how do we accept that gift of eternal life?
The answer is found in Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
If you have questions, about what I have shared today, I would be happy to talk to you after the meeting, as would any of the Discussion Group Leaders or Mentor Moms.
17) NATIVITY: Reminding us of the story of Christ’s Birth
Bible: Luke 2
There are several ways to adapt this tradition. One of my friends uses the symbols to create their family sugar cookies. Another idea is to take the information shared today and hide it in clues around your house on a scavenger hunt as many of these symbols will already be included in your Christmas decorations.
Or, if you’re looking for something even easier… I simplified the idea FOR YOU! I created a coloring page where children can color each of the ornaments on the tree and read the scripture that corresponds. We have one copy for each of you, and you can find the original printable at www.momstraditions.com.