Christmas at the Dobsons
Christmas has grown so commercialized that it’s hard to keep the focus on the true meaning of the celebration–even in a house of faith. So, when our children were still young, Jim and I started traditions to help us keep the birth of Christ at the center of Christmas, and they have continued to this day.
Every Christmas Eve family and friends sit down to a wonderful meal together. Afterward we gather around the fireplace as Jim reads the story of Christ’s birth from the Bible (Luke 2). Then we dim the lights, and I give each person a votive candle. As the candles begin to glow, I explain that Jesus is the Light of the world who came to bring hope and eternal life to his followers (John 8:12). Then we take turns describing blessings for which we’re thankful and sharing something we are asking God to do in our lives in the coming year. After that we blow out our candles, and Jim closes in prayer.
On Christmas morning we open the small gifts in our stockings before enjoying the traditional Dobson Christmas brunch of cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, orange juice, and coffee. After brunch we sit around the tree, and one of us plays Santa by passing out gifts. We open them one at a time so we can preserve the happy moment as long as possible. Our traditions aren’t unique, but they are meaningful. They emphasize two vital themes of the Christmas story–the celebration of Jesus’ birth and life and the celebration of love for one another and for the entire human family.
(excerpt from Welcome To Our Table)
Shirley & Danae Dobson: As the wife of Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson, Shirley has devoted her life to the ministry and embraced many opportunities to entertain guests. From dignitaries to backdoor neighbors to the family, Shirley has opened her heart and spread the table for all. Danae, James and Shirley’s daughter, remembers the gatherings and lovingly recalls what her mother taught her about being kind and extending hospitality. Now mother and daughter have gathered the stories of those celebrations and get-togethers to inspire others.