But, Where is the Baby?

There is a story of two young women having an elaborate lunch together. It was a famous upscale downtown restaurant. As they are enjoying their conversation, the invited guest asks her friend, “What is the occasion? Why are we celebrating?”
She replies, “We are celebrating the baby’s birthday!”
“But, where is the baby?” said her bewildered friend.
“Oh,” said the mother, “You didn’t think I would bring him, did you?” Why he doesn’t know anything about it.”
Isn’t it the same for many people when it comes to the birth of Jesus? We all celebrate Christmas but many of us don’t even invite Jesus to the party. We obsess over every detail of the holiday. The tree, garland, Santa Claus, presents, colorful lights, everything has to be right. And, that includes a wonderful meal, and a great holiday party.
Everything, that is, except Jesus, the reason for the season.
What is the point of celebrating Christmas, if we don’t invite Jesus to the celebration? What can we do as Catholics and as Christians to keep Christ in Christmas?
Here are a few ideas:
Set up a nativity scene in a prominent location in your home. And, keep it up during the 12 days of Christmas until the Epiphany. Have a tradition of placing baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve. I am always impressed with the kids that visit us. They approach the manger with a reverence that only an innocent child can have as they look at the baby Jesus in the manger. Have Jesus visible and present.
Attend Mass on Christmas Eve or day. Make mass attendance at Christmas a family tradition. When we attended Christmas Eve mass we would return home and open one gift that night. Somehow, I always selected the gift with the underwear and socks! It became a Christmas tradition.
Light an Advent wreath each week until Christmas day. Spend a little time reading the Christmas story from Luke 1 1:5-56 and Like 2:1-20. Read a part each week. Make it brief but always centered around Jesus and the nativity story.
Give God a special gift. Christmas is a time to forgive. It’s a great time to reach out to an estranged family member or loved one. Often, they are waiting and praying for a chance to reunite but someone has to take the initiative. It my experience, as time passes, we often can’t even remember why they are estranged or the reason has become mute. Consider these acts of kindness a gift from you to God.
Adopt a needy family or take a few names from The Giving Tree. Or, send a Christmas card to someone serving our country in the military. Why not invite someone to Christmas dinner? Usually, there is plenty of food for another person or persons at the table. And, don’t forget to say grace and give thanks.
I am sure that you can think of many other ways to keep Christ in Christmas. Start a few new Christmas traditions with your family, especially the kids.
If we are celebrating the birth of our savior then let’s bring the baby to the party.
God bless you, and Merry Christmas!


For those of you who have been trying to order A Storytellers Guide to a Grace-Filled life and it was out of stock, it is back available at Amazon.com in both trade paperback and Kindle editions.  Sorry for the inconvenience, but if you order now you can have it for Christmas.  Thank you for your patience.

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***This story is an update and rewrite of a story from November 30, 2014.  It will be included in Tony’s next book, Making it Through Hard Times: A Storytellers Guide, coming May 2018. ***

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