Sunday afternoon we finished up the 6th birthday gathering at my house this month. Does your family have birthday months like ours? July and November seem to be where many of our birthdays cluster.
I was walking through the living room yesterday morning and I said it under my breath, “I am DONE with birthday season.” And then I laughed because hello, Christmas–something about the biggest holiday of the year celebrating a birth. Birthday season was just starting.
So I started thinking about birthdays while I was getting ready and what that might mean for Christmas. What is it that really makes the day for the birthday person?
Decorations are fun. I think people agree because, um, Pinterest. But it’s not necessary, really. Unless you have a reality show or lots of time and money, do people (at least around me) ever decorate for adults. For kids, yeah, but birthday themed plates are as far as we go for adults. Unless of course it’s the big 4-0 and then some black balloons are in order.
Food is pretty central to the celebration. Whether you go out to eat, cook dinner in or just share some cake and ice cream, it’s a staple. But I wouldn’t say it MAKES the birthday terrific. (Except my Mom’s chocolate cake. That seriously makes my birthday).
Presents are welcome at any age, but by the time you’re an adult, it’s just your spouse and parents participating.
I thought what REALLY makes a fun birthday is people. When people simply remember your birthday and recognize it. It’s why people love their Facebook accounts on their birthdays. Two words from all their friends and it’s like BAM! Day. Made. No cake, no decorations, no presents. You don’t even need a fancy image. Just the nod from your friends that they remembered you.
And so after thinking through all that, I thought about Christmas and how Jesus might want us to celebrate his birth.
Yeah, we decorate and have meals and give presents, but he interrupted my Christmasy thoughts and whispered what he really wanted.
It wasn’t even a gift given for an angel tree or service at a food bank.
Here it is, come close:
He wants me.
And he wants you.
He wants us not to eat or decorate or swap presents or even serve because of him, he wants YOU.
He wants the nod, the time, the recognition that it’s all about him and you’re so crazy thankful that the real gift is Him. He loves us so much and we’re a gift to Him! It’s the whole reason He came!
So let’s not read stories ABOUT him or serve FOR him or gather with family BECAUSE of him. Let’s be WITH HIM because he’s with us. Emmanuel.
Sit at his feet this season. Listen after you pray. Sing songs of praise to him all by yourself. Whisper gratefulness as you go. However it is that the two of you connect, do that.
Be still and give him you.
Part of the way I connect with Him is through reading His word and the words he’s given others. I’m planning to read through Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift. It’s a daily devotional leading up to Christmas. I’ll be posting a thought about it each day on my Facebook page.
I’d like to invite you to read along with me and make that part of your season. The readings start on Sunday December 1st. If you’re in, that’s GREAT. I’d love to process Christmas with you. If not, that’s great too. Just remember—give him YOU. He’s crazy about you, friend!