Tenderest Birthday blessings to any of you poor souls out there who were born in the last month of the year. December babies must be doubly special, because they are notoriously under-celebrated. I know this because I am one; it’s the same every year. Even as a small child you learn that a December baby is not fêted with the same gleeful attention as other months. Without fail, the weeks before Christmas are jam-packed, so your birthday gets lost in School parties, Church concerts, work banquets, or other festivities. People are focused on holiday preparations, so greetings get fired off earlier or arrive after the fact. “Your birthday is sometime around Christmas, right?” Family don’t want to forget you, but there’s no time to make a big deal of it, either. Sometimes, Christmas presents and birthday presents get combined, which is really nasty.
There is, however, an upside. What is normally a single-day event can get stretched out over a few days, as each one of your friends tries valiantly to mark the occasion. Lack of time and attention can also translate into gifts of money – never unwelcome! Finally, you are actually sharing the month with the most significant nativity of all, The Lord Jesus, and that’s not exactly chopped liver. His party goes on for thirty days, so somewhere in there, you ought to feel special.
God ordained that every birth should be significant, but let’s face it, not all of us get introduced with stars, angelic visitations and mass choirs. There was a huge announcement,
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
...Wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. Matthew 2:1-3
Such a big moment, this Christ, Son of God come down to earth. Setting aside divinity for the very messy process of entering the earth through a woman’s womb. Born, thrust out into a rude stable and vulnerable to the murderous rage of a jealous king. It’s a simple story, but also an incredibly intricate event one can ponder from a different magnificent facet every year. I doubt a life-time of Christmas’s will be sufficient for anyone to grasp the full import of Emmanuel.
In fact, you have to be born, not once, but twice, to even come close to revelation. Understanding the miracle of Christmas cannot be accomplished with a carnal mind or natural understanding, as much as many try. Man needs to be spiritually reborn, an act of faith and obedience. An act of surrender.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
No wonder there’s such a dichotomy between the masses. Even the spirit behind our celebrations is telling. Who’s stocking up at the liquor vender? Who’s maxing out their credit card? Who’s got the splashy Holiday Vay-Cay planned? Is it reveling, or rejoicing? Is it carousal or commemoration? You can’t even observe Christmas properly without the Spirit of God leading the way.
The blessing is profound, simply to be born into the world. But there’s an upgrade, and it’s the wonder of being born again. Forgiven, redeemed, renewed. That’s the gift to us at Christmas.
In a world full of rejection, prejudice and hatred, fulfilling our lives is not easy. Not many of us have the chance to defend our existence. Jesus finally had his face-to-face with Herod, his mortal enemy from day one. It was a significant, full-circle moment.
Pilate therefore said unto him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice. John 18:37
This birthday year is a big life marker for me, so I’m ruminating over profound things. I’ve got sixty down, and who knows how many to go. I'm equally split between regret for time wasted and the richness of experience. Life is precious, something we’ve had brought home to us in glaring colors this year. Whether anybody celebrates you or not, it’s high time to consider the joyous privilege of simply being born.
Thank-you Lord, for this life; for coming to rescue it. Happy Birthday, sweet savior. Thank-you Jesus!
For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:18
Blessings to all this Christmas. May it be simple, meaningful and miraculous. See you in the New Year!
cb Image by Bing