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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celebrating a Birthday in the Midst of Christmas

I went home from school with a friend that Friday. It was always a treat to go to a friend's house for a slumber party. This was special. She was my best friend and this was my birthday.

We went home that afternoon, dumped our books in my friend's room, and grabbed a snack from the kitchen. We probably played with her dog and secretly slipped him a Little Debbie cake. My friend's mom told us to get ready; we were going to Burger King.
That's when I figured it out.

Because I have a December birthday, my parents always made a special effort to set it apart from Christmas. December birthdays often get lumped in with Christmas parties, family gatherings and other events. No matter how big or small the celebration or the gift, my birthday was just that- my day. I never felt overlooked in the midst of the Christmas season.

I can't remember exactly how old I turned that Friday, but it must have been an extra special year. A Burger King party. Wow. Of course, this was before kids had parties each year, before parties had jumpy castles and expensive games.

You know, it's funny. I honestly don't remember much about the actual party. What I remember is that moment of realization at my friend's house, the moment I figured out the surprise. I remember how it felt to know my parents had planned something extra for my birthday.

My birthday was special, set apart.

It is the birth of Christ which brings us Christmas. We don't have parties at Burger King or rent jumpy castles, but sometimes activities- even good ones- blend in with the cause for celebration. We find ourselves in the middle of the mall, serving meals at a soup kitchen, dropping coins in the red kettle, singing hymns at church, and we lose sight of The One for whom we sing.

Scripture describes a very special birth announcement. A host of angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds tending their flocks in the dark night. After the glorious announcement, the shepherds made an important decision.

"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child." Luke 2: 15-17

After the shepherds heard the wonderful news, they stopped what they were doing- tending their flocks- to celebrate and to worship. What they were doing was important, but not as important as taking time to worship The Lord.

There are so many things we can get caught up in this time of year. Many of them are truly good things. We need to stop to worship, to take a moment each day, even if it is in the middle of the mall, and honor Jesus.

Celebrate His birthday in the midst of Christmas. Sing Happy Birthday to the Christ child in your hymns, your prayers and your devotions.

I can't think of a better December birthday to celebrate this Christmas or anyone other than Jesus who is more deserving of our honor and praise. Can you?

Something to consider:

What can you do to take time to set apart the birth from busy tasks?

Join Melanie at her personal blogspot, "This Ain't New York."

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Blogger karin said...

As an Oma I love to spend time with the grandangels and talk with them about why we celebrate this special season! To tell the next generation has been my focus in recent years. Thanks for your reminder!

December 17, 2008 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

This made my eyes salty and stinging, girl! So many times I think of Him as my Savior born at Christmas, and He is all that!!! But He is also a very special friend to me, and I wouldn't miss a friend's birthday!!!! No way. You helped me to see that side of it. Just perfect, Melanie. Oh, and happy birthday to you too!!! Though I'm not sure what day it is, I do know it is in December. (I catch on fast, don't I?)

December 17, 2008 at 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Lorraine said...

As a mom with 2 who have birthdays within weeks of Christmas, this hit home.

just a tip for the webmaster though... that Green text on Red for the quoted area - ouch. couldn't read it without highlighting it.

December 17, 2008 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love what the other blogger said, "Wouldn't want to miss a friend's birthday". I too really was helped by these thoughts as I've been trying to set apart Christ in Christmas and gave me some thoughts to try. Thanks.

December 17, 2008 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Denise said...


December 17, 2008 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Great post! My dh has a December 30 birthday that he shares with his younger sister. I've always made an effort to give him a special time so it doesn't blend into Christmas leftovers.

Christ shouldn't get our holiday leftovers either. After all, it's His birthday that makes us want to celebrate. Thanks for an important reminder to set His time aside for worship.

December 18, 2008 at 6:48 AM  

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