As I thought and prayed about that very issue, I realized how I had allowed myself to get locked into dates. I knew, of course, that Jesus may not have been born exactly on December 25, but I hadn’t really considered that Christmas could be celebrated at any time other than on that precise date. And yet, I reasoned, wasn’t Christmas the celebration of the birth of God’s Son into the world? What, then, had happened in October 1999 just days before my dad slipped out of his earthly body and was whisked into the presence of God? Hadn’t Jesus been birthed by God’s Spirit into Dad’s heart? If I believed that — and I certainly did — then that wonderful day of new birth for my dad, though it took place in October, had been his personal Christmas celebration here on earth.

I was thrilled — not just because of what had happened to my father, but because I suddenly realized that the day of our salvation — our new birth — is also the day of our own personal Christmas. After knowing and walking with Jesus for more than a quarter of a century, I had come into a new and fresh appreciation of the most beautiful of all holidays. In fact, I realized how much more meaningful Christmas would be if, when we get together as a family to celebrate the gift of Jesus, we also recount our own Christmas stories, telling of the day Jesus was birthed into our hearts. If we have guests who have never received Jesus, it would be the perfect opportunity for them to do so.

But we wouldn’t have to stop there. Why not have several Christmas celebrations throughout the year? Regardless of the date, each time one of us comes to the anniversary of our new birth, we could have a Christmas party in honor of the event. Guests could bring gifts, and the person celebrating his or her own personal Christmas could designate a charity to receive them. It would provide us with opportunities to invite unsaved friends, neighbors, and loved ones, and to present the gospel to them throughout the year.

I will always cherish the memory of my dear father “helping” the ushers at that Christmas Eve candlelight service so many years ago, and the opportunities that it generated to make Christmas personal all year long and to tell others about the greatest gift ever given — God’s own Son, born into a world of sin that He might also be born in our hearts and wash those sins away forever.

Kathi Macias is an Angel-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books, including the bestselling devotional A Moment A Day from Regal Books, and the popular Matthews and Matthews detective novels from Broadman and Holman. Kathi has written commentary for Thomas Nelson’s Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Student Edition) and was part of the devotional writing team for Zondervan’s New Women’s Devotional Bible. Her numerous articles, short stories, and poems have appeared in various periodicals. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs. A mother and grandmother, Kathi lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where she is at work on several writing and editing projects. An ordained minister, Kathi serves as spiritual adviser to the Christian Authors Network and membership chairman for the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. www.kathimacias.com.
*Printed first in Victory in Grace Magazine, December 2005.