My entire life so far has been spent in the Northern Hemisphere, and as a result, my body clock is programmed to recognize dropping temperatures and shortening days as sure signs that Christmas is approaching.

I love everything about the Christmas season—the colors, the twinkling lights, the presents, the Christmas trees, the aromas, the smiles strangers exchange, the quality time with loved ones. Most Christmas music is beautiful, but I’ll admit to even enjoying the slightly tacky songs that seem to play on a loop in malls or on the car radio.

Even though I’ve known Jesus all my life, lately I’ve found myself getting more caught up in the buzz and activity surrounding the holiday and less on the reason for it. I’ve had less time than in previous years to consider how Jesus might want me to celebrate His birthday. The Bible doesn’t give any specific instruction on this; however, there’s a verse that might provide some clues. In this passage, Nehemiah is giving advice on how to throw a party: “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks,” he says, “and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared.”[Nehemiah 8:10 NLT]

I think that Jesus—who when He was on earth turned water into wine at a wedding feast[See John 2:1–11.]—would want us to have fun and enjoy ourselves. And just as He set aside His own weariness to reach out,[See Matthew 14:13–14.] I think He’d also be concerned for those who are lonely, elderly, sick, or struggling today, and He’d want us to share His compassion with those we can. If we do our best with both aspects of this advice, I think the result will be pretty close to what the Birthday Boy is hoping for.

A very happy Christmas to you and yours!