Birthdays are exciting times to celebrate someone’s life. I love celebrations and planning in advance. I try to make birthdays special for a few loved ones in my life. Each year, my husband and I like to plan each other’s birthday and celebrate each other’s life with surprises and special moments. We build the suspense and give each other special privileges as “birthday specials” for the whole month.
I remember on one of my birthdays, while we were still engaged, he planned with my mom to sneak into our kitchen early morning and cook a breakfast for me -- that was a lovely gesture. But then, later in the day he took me to watch the second X-men movie. I knew nothing about the series, nor did I find it appealing. I ended up taking phone calls and checking my birthday texts, while he enjoyed the movie without noticing my disinterest.
The first year we got married my husband again made special plans for my birthday. The evening started out absolutely beautiful, just the two of us, but it turned out to be a BIG surprise, with more than 30 people hiding in every corner of my house, jumping out to wish me a happy birthday. All who know me well are aware of two facts: first, I do not like large crowds, and second, I do not handle surprises very well. I did eventually enjoy the evening, but on the whole it was a reflection of who my husband is and the way he wanted to celebrate my birthday.
We got married in our early twenties and it’s been almost a decade since. We have grown together and now understand each other better than we did then. We have had good laughs at those surprises, but how we celebrate each other has changed. Now we celebrate our togetherness, what the person means to us.
Why do we celebrate our loved ones' birthdays? We celebrate because we are grateful that they are in our lives, for what they mean to us, that they were born and exist in our lives. That calls for a celebration!
As we look around us this Christmas season -- as the shops, malls, and houses are decked up with glittering and beautiful decorations, carols can be heard, our homes get warmer and filled with all goodies and baking, our shopping lists grow longer and almost never ending, and gifts are bought. Most of the dates in this month are already blocked with events, dinners and invitations, and I’m not against any of these, as I myself do most of it. But, let’s stop and reflect on the person for whom we are doing all this. Are we doing it because of traditions, fashion or because that’s the way Christmas has been celebrated in our family, or are we really grateful to God for the life of Jesus? We celebrate His birth but do we really know Him as a Person? Is He the reason for all our celebrations?
Luke 2:7 says,
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
Many years ago Jesus was born in a place many of us today would never even want to visit; the co-creator of this earth had no place in the inn! The Messiah, the very One people were waiting for and talking about, was born . . . and not many noticed. He did not receive a welcome, let alone any celebrations.
Does He have a place in our hearts and in our homes as we celebrate His birth? Have we grown in our relationship with Him so that we celebrate Him as someone we love? Have we enjoyed our walk with Him so that we rejoice and celebrate what He means to us?
He is no longer a baby. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 8:1).Soon every knee will bow and every tongue will confess His Lordship. Has He grown in our lives from a baby born in a manger to a King seated at the throne of our lives, and our hearts?
It’s a beautiful season to celebrate the birth of Jesus! As we rejoice in the season, let our celebrations flow out of a heart filled with gratitude for who Jesus is. Let Christ be the centre of Christmas.
“How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!” (Benjamin Franklin)