Tag Archives: nativity

My Birthday, Jesus’ Birthday

01 birthdayWhen my oldest son was about five years old, we went to a “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” party at the church we were attending. The pastor’s wife read the book My Birthday, Jesus’ Birthday by Holly Davis. It was the first time I had heard the story, but I really liked it at the time.

A couple of years later, we were traveling to visit family when we stopped for a break at a shopping center with outlet stores. In one of those stores, I found that same book on sale and purchased it for our family. And it’s been one of my favorite Christmas books ever since.

The story is actually a comparison between “my” birthday and Jesus’ birthday, or Christmas. On the left side of each spread, the narrator tells about the time she was born; for example, on one page she talks about how her parents carefully thought about and chose her name. The right side of the spread, then, compares it with the time when Jesus was born, as God told Mary and Joseph what the baby’s name would be. The narrator was born in a hospital; Jesus was born in a stable. The narrator’s grandparents came to visit when she was born; the shepherds came to visit the new baby Jesus.

The book continues in this way to the last page, which features a big birthday cake with the words “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” on it. The text, the layout, and the illustrations all make this an ideal book for teaching little ones about Christmas. We’ve used ours so much over the years that some of the pages are coming out.

So today I searched the Internet for another copy, and sadly realized…My Birthday, Jesus’ Birthday is out of print! The only ones I found for sale were way over-priced. I did find it at a few libraries, however; even if your library doesn’t carry it, you could probably get a copy from an inter-library loan service. Perhaps Zondervan  (the original publisher) will print it again, but until they do, I’ll be keeping an eye out for a used copy. This book really is a great find!

Counting Down to Christmas

calendarWhen my oldest child was little, I found an advent calendar in a catalog that I really liked. It had 25 pockets with a number on each one; inside the pockets were hidden characters to include in a nativity scene: shepherds, wise men, sheep, camels, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Every day in December, the child pulls out one of the characters from the corresponding pocket and sticks it onto a background. Of course, baby Jesus would be in Pocket 25.

At the time, we didn’t have much extra money to spend, so I made my own calendar using felt for the background, pockets, and characters; fabric paint for the numbers; and Velcro pieces to make the characters adhere to the stable scene. And we’ve been using that calendar ever since. Though I’ve had to replace a few pieces along the way, it’s been one of our favorite traditions for counting down to Christmas.

A friend of mine recently told me of one of their traditions: they make paper chains from construction paper with the days numbered on them, then tape one on each child’s door where they can reach them. Every day, then, the children get to remove one link of the chain. A variation of this would be to put a verse from the Christmas story in the Bible on each link; then, when the children remove the link, they can work on memorizing the verse.

One family we know counted down the days by setting up a nativity scene with all of the pieces except the wise men and their camels. They would set them far away from the display, perhaps on a windowsill or bookshelf. Then, every morning, they would move them a little closer to the scene, until finally, on Christmas Eve, the wise men would arrive at the manger.

Does your family have a favorite way of counting down to Christmas?