Many families celebrate Jesus’ birthday with a special cake served in His honor. BUT, how many candles do you put on Jesus’ birthday cake? My sister-in-law began a meaningful tradition in our family the year that they tragically lost their teenage son. Our two families gathered on Christmas Eve just three months after Troy died. Anne placed a beautiful white frosted cake on the table decorated with a star on top made with crushed candy canes. She explained, “This year I’d like to put a candle on Jesus’ birthday cake to remember Troy, and thank God that Troy is in heaven this Christmas because Jesus came and made a way for us to know Him.”
That year, with just a single candle twinkling, we sang happy birthday to Jesus with tears of thanksgiving. And every year since, our families do the same, adding a candle for each loved one who has gone to heaven the year before.
An interesting plus to this tradition is how it benefits the younger ones who may not remember or possibly had never even met some of their family – like my husband’s 3-year-old brother, Billy, who was buried on Christmas Eve. We tell Brooklyn Noel, our granddaughter, that she was the very best Christmas gift of all, born 50 years later (the day Billy died). Significant stories pass on family history in a very memorable way and also bring honor to the baby lying in the manger – heaven really did come down to us on Christmas morning!