As we wrap up the holidays, I reflect on all my Christmases. One of my family Christmas traditions comes from my British roots, the Christmas crackers. For those not familiar with them, they are festive table decorations that make a snapping sound when pulled open, and often contain a small gift, paper crown and a joke. As far back as I can remember, we enjoyed them. And it would not be Christmas without the familiar picture of everyone sitting around the table with the colorful paper crowns on their head. I continue the tradition with my children and now my grandchildren.
I think I love the crowns from the crackers the most because of the memories of those photos. But, as a child, I also loved to pretend I was a princess. As a British subject, I love everything royal and visited the priceless crown jewels several times as a child. So, instead of the paper crown, I pretended I wore one like the queen, one made of gold and a variety of precious gems. Those silly paper crowns still bring me joy.
The Lesson from the Paper Crown
This year, I looked at the Christmas crackers in a new way. I saw them in the light of my faith. When we accept Christ into our hearts, we receive the gift of salvation, something much better than the little plastic toy inside the cracker. Also, like the crackers, there are crowns for us when we reach our heavenly home. To receive these crowns, we must “pull apart” from the world and live a life pleasing to our Father. The paper crowns come in a variety of colors while the heavenly come in variety as well. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Our Heavenly Crowns
- The Victor’s Crown – 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (NIV); Self-discipline requires the ability to say “no” when necessary, especially to sin. Those who exercise such discipline will receive the Victor’s crow.
- The Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV); We receive this crown when we bring others to Christ. Those who reach out beyond themselves no matter what is happening in their own lives.
- The Crown of Righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:8 (NIV); This crown does not go to those caught up in earthly activities. Instead, God gives it to those who long to see the face of Jesus when He comes in the clouds.
- The Crown of Life – James 1:12 (NIV) & Revelations 2:10 (NIV); Believers who maintain their love for Christ while triumphing over persecution, temptation and even martyrdom receive this crown. Any believer who has kept the faith when it was costly and anyone who has suffered, endured, persevered and encouraged others also receives this crown.
- The Crown of Glory – 1 Peter 5:4 (NIV); This crown is a gift to faithful shepherds of God’s people–pastors, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, ministry team leaders, etc.
As I observed the brightly colored wrapper trash from the pulled crackers, I understood that God sometimes must pull apart my life to get to the treasure hidden inside. I might already be lovely on the outside, but God understands what I can do for His kingdom, so He needs to change me and shape me on the inside for His purposes.
[bctt tweet=”Jesus lay down His crowns to come down to earth as a baby on Christmas.”]
And, I no longer need to pretend that I am royalty because I am the daughter of the King of heaven and that makes me a princess. And unlike the priceless crown jewels of the British monarchy, the crowns I receive someday will never tarnish or lose their value, and no one can steal them away from me.
Jesus is the Crowning Jewel
But we also must remember the crowns are not as important as Jesus as seen in Revelations 4:10-11 (NIV); “10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever.” They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Jesus is the gift and our crowns are worthless without Him.
As we put away the holiday décor and begin a new year, let us look towards Easter. We remember Jesus lay down His crowns to come down to earth as a baby on Christmas. And He reclaimed His crown when died and rose again for us on Easter. I pray the Lord blesses you abundantly in this new year of 2023.
Heavenly Father, thank You for making all things new! As another new year begins, help me live each day for You. May I continually have a new song in my heart to sing to You, no matter what comes my way. I trust in You because I know Your mercies are new every morning, and nothing ahead of me will take You by surprise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Joan Walker Hahn, Encouragement Cafe.