The months before a child is born are a time of excitement for everyone involved. The parents-to-be anticipate the birth by getting a nursery ready, choosing names and wondering what the new member of their family will be like. Friends and family anxiously anticipate the new little person's birth. We give gifts and celebrate the impending arrival of a new person. For nine months, everyone involved waits for their special baby's birth.
Imagine how much the Jewish people were anticipating the birth of Jesus. Way back in the time of Isaiah, Jesus' birth was prophesied. Isaiah 9:6 says "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." For hundreds of years the Jewish people had been anticipating the arrival of Jesus. The birth of Jesus was the arrival of the hoped-for Messiah.
As you go through this last week before Christmas, take a moment to anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth. As you memorize Isaiah 9:6, work to create a sense of excitement about celebrating Christmas. Channel your kids' excitement from the presents to the opportunity to celebrate Jesus' birth.
- Plan a birthday party for Jesus. Hang streamers, bake a cake and invite some friends to celebrate. Make the story of Jesus' birth a central part of the celebration. Let your kids help plan the party so it will build anticipation.
- Create a tradition of setting out a piece of your nativity set every day before Christmas. Build up to Chrismas Eve when you will place Jesus in the manger. This gives your kids the opportunity to anticipate Jesus' "arrival."
- Talk with your kids about how excited they are about Christmas. Compare that excitement to how excited the Jewish people would have been to hear of the arrival of Jesus.
Don't get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of this last week before Christmas that you forget to anticipate celebrating Jesus' birth.