There are about 10 people in my immediate circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who have birthdays this week, 7 of them on the 23rd!
One of my friends’ daughters told me recently that Christmas was her favorite holiday. I said mine was Thanksgiving, and she responded that for her, Thanksgiving was ‘just a bump in the road on the way to Christmas.’
That attitude is true for a lot of Americans. We believe we are ‘entitled’–to deference, to privilege, to success, to ownership, to power and influence, to be entertained by life, and to be spoiled by our families with an abundance of lavish gifts at Christmas. If you think I’m exaggerating, just check your kids’ Christmas lists. “I want…” is the overriding theme for most family Christmases.
No wonder some folks, overburdened by financial worries, grief, health and family issues, or absent loved ones, turn to numbing, pain-relieving measures to get through the season! I’m not immune to those same pressures, but I’ve learned to mitigate their influence by shifting my own focus.
Who celebrates someone else’s birthday by expecting to be the center of attention? OK, maybe a sociopath–there’s only one person that matters in their lives, and it’s them! But who else? Nobody!
What I’ve discovered is that if I celebrate Christmas as His birthday, I have a really wonderful time! I prepare for visits by making cookies, desserts, and, in the case of Christmas dinner, meal items to take with me for my host family. I usually also do my own Christmas cards. (This year, because of all the medical bills and extraordinary expenses, I could not afford the postage!) My motivation lies in His command to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’
Not everyone is open to my celebrating anything. I mean some people hold on tightly to spirits of bitterness and offense, and those demons always shut out Love’s light. I know you understand that one! But for everyone that welcomes a visit, I bring a yummy gift of cookies, food, or something that will bless them, and we celebrate Jesus’ birthday together, even if they don’t call it that!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!