Written by Kim Johnson
It’s my birthday! Really, December 20 is my birthday. In fact, today is a milestone birthday as I cross over into my 40s. Oh my. Hooray for BIRTHDAYS!
I love birthdays. I love MY birthday. But, I don’t always love having a December birthday. Those in my circles know my important birthday rules:
#1: NO CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER.
#2: No baked goods—especially no Christmas themed baked goods.
#3: We will celebrate outside if we want to despite the threat of cold or snow. (As a child I always wanted to have a putt-putt mini golf party but was always told no because ‘it might snow.’)
#4: When possible, birthday celebrations should take place in a different room or as far away from the Christmas tree as possible.
While [most] of that is in jest, there is something to be said for having to ‘share’ your birthday with Christmas. Birthdays are important, and some of us with December birthdays tend to get overshadowed by all things Christmas.
Which brings me to Jesus’ birthday. While I joke about my birthday rules, during this season, I think a lot about Jesus’ birthday. How He—the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, was born in a stable. How His bed was a manger and His poor exhausted parents shared the space with livestock and not with their friends or family.
Jesus’ birth, perhaps the most important birth in history, was overshadowed then by so many difficult circumstances and continues to be overshadowed now by tinsel and shopping and Hallmark movies.
All of this makes me wonder, are we celebrating Jesus in the way we should or could on His special day? Do we make Jesus’s birthday the awesome celebration that we give our kids and ourselves? Obviously, He’s not in your living room to share birthday cake and open gifts. And I’m not sure he would really enjoy or appreciate a party at the trampoline park or the movie theater.
But, it is worth thinking about how we DO celebrate such a very special birthday. On a day where many of us, myself included, focus on family and food and gifts and rest, are we taking the time to appreciate the true reason for our celebration? Or does all that good stuff overshadow the gift given to us and placed in a manger so long ago?
As we head into the home stretch (5 days until Christmas!), I wonder what our Christmases would look like if we made a plan to insert a birthday party for Jesus into our December 25 festivities. Maybe it’s with cake. Maybe its by sharing the ways God has blessed our lives this year with those gathered around our Christmas trees. Maybe it is taking time to read the Christmas story from Luke.
There are countless ways we can offer Jesus a December birthday celebration on Wednesday.
What kind of birthday party will you and your family throw?
If you’ve missed any of our previous daily readings, you can find them all archived here. We hope these readings are helping you encounter God this season!