Remembering the Reason for the Season

As we continue our Home for the Holidays series, I am delighted to introduce  you to my friend, Lauren Gaskill. Lauren is an author, speaker and podcaster who spreads the joy of Jesus in everyday life. Lauren is sharing one of her family’s Christmas traditions with us today.

lauren-gaskill-postI could hear my sister and my cousin plotting as we ran up the stairs to get ready for our annual Christmas Eve play.

“Hey! You guys always get to be Mary … but I want to be Mary this year!” I yelled as I followed closely behind them.

My sister turned around just in time to catch a glimpse of my puppy dog eyes.

“Oh fine,” she replied. “I’ll be the shepherd.”

We spent the next 10 minutes dividing the remaining roles and preparing for our big curtain call. Then it was lights, camera, action. Time for the grandkids to act out the story of the birth of Jesus for the whole family to see. And for a grand finale, my gramma would bring out the “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake, thoughtfully topped with one candle to signify our one and only Savior’s birth.

Before any talk of presents. Before the hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies. Before the caroling music. Before anything else, Christmas was and forever will be about Jesus in my family. And although traditions have changed somewhat since we were kids (we don’t do the play anymore, we just read the Bible instead) some traditions stay the same, like our treasured Jesus cake.

When I was growing up, it was pretty common for teachers to ask students to share their holiday traditions with the class. And while I used to be embarrassed to talk about the Jesus cake, today I’m proud of the unique tradition. In fact, it’s become one of my most favorite things about Christmas.jesus-christmas-cake

Last year, my husband and I couldn’t make it to my gramma’s Christmas Eve celebration, so I asked her to send me a picture of the cake in my absence. There’s something about preparing a cake for and singing to my Savior that brings me so much joy.

There are so many reasons not to choose joy during the holiday season, and if we don’t keep our focus on the reason for the season, we end up focusing on the wrong things — things that fill us with sadness and sorrow. 

Things like not having enough money to buy everyone the presents you wanted to buy them. Things like not having the prettiest outfit to show off to all your family members. Things like not feeling beautiful enough to be in family photos. Things like that diagnosis you just received. Things like that boy who just broke your heart and left you dateless. Things like that friend that just stopped calling.

But when we fix our eyes on the reason for the season, we are filled with joy.

No matter what’s going on in our lives during the holidays, we can delight in the birth of our Savior. We can shut the noise out by focusing on giving praise and thanks to our great Father, who loved us so much that He sent His son to come live among us and die for our sins.

Each new year brings a different Christmas experience for me and my family, but one thing remains the same: Jesus is always at the center of our celebrations. He is our Home for the holidays, no matter where we are or what we are going through.

He is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we can trust. {Psalm 91:2}

We can choose joy at Christmastime because love came down to set us free.


lauren-gaskillLauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast. She is in the process of publishing her first non-fiction inspirational book. When she’s not writing, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy — peanut butter cups.




5 thoughts on “Remembering the Reason for the Season

  1. Love this, Lauren! I really like the idea of baking Jesus a birthday cake. I have been thinking about making a change in things or starting a new tradition for our little ones, maybe we will do that! God bless you sweet, friend.

    Your neighbor at #MomentsofHope

  2. Lisa Appelo says:

    Lauren, I never would have understood *choosing joy* until we had to do it ourselves. There are things we can proactively do to choose joy in the hardest of hard. Good stuff. <3

Leave a Reply