The Making of a Christmas Tradition

This week I have an article featured on the website, Thanks to Cindy and Eddie and all the terrific folks who run that wonderful ministry.

I've included the article here. I'd love to hear about your Christmas traditions!


The Making of a Christmas Tradition
by Virginia Smith

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.” John 8:12

I was nine-years-old when my family’s most important tradition began. My mom invited four mentally disabled boys to our house for Christmas Eve. She told my seven-year-old sister and me that we were going to create a special Christmas for those boys because they didn’t have families of their own. I know now that she also wanted to demonstrate the true meaning of the season for her young daughters.

We shopped and cooked for days. When our guests arrived there were gifts under the tree and a banquet on the table. Their eyes shone as they stared at our beautiful tree, and their delighted laughter filled the house when they opened their presents. For the first time, I got more joy out of watching someone else’s delight than in receiving my own gifts. They had so little, and they enjoyed everything with abandon.

Mom had prepared a special celebration to end the evening. We all gathered around a special cake in the center of the kitchen table. What would Jesus’ birthday cake be but angel food? A golden angel sat atop the fluffy icing, resting on a gauzy white cloud and surrounded by candles – one for every century since Jesus’ birth. Mom lit the candles and doused the lights. We held hands and joined her in a verse of Silent Night. When that song ended, we launched into a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to Jesus. But before the last notes, the cloud caught fire. While four mentally disabled boys and two impressionable little girls watched, the beautiful angel went up in flames like a miniature Joan of Arc. Hardly the memory Mom had worked so hard to create.

That Christmas will always stand out as one of my most memorable, not because of the evening’s fiery finish, but because of the awe in those boys’ eyes, and the joy in their laughter. Every Christmas Eve since, my family has sung Happy Birthday to Jesus. Beloved faces shine around the table in the light of the candles on the Savior’s birthday cake, just as His light illuminates our lives all year long. I never fail to remember that the reason for Christmas is to celebrate His light coming into the world to shine on all mankind.

These days we have a fire-proof angel, though.