I know several people who have birthdays during December who work hard at not combining Christmas with their personal birth celebration.

I’m related to a few of them.

When I was little, I had a friend whose birthday was on Christmas Eve, and having a rather large family, her birthday always got rolled into the Christmas festivities. That seemed thrilling to me–sharing my special day with Christmas. A super celebration.

Until she informed me that her presents were always “twofer”–birthday and Christmas gifts were the same. She never had a party especially for her because the weeks leading up to Christmas were so busy. She was a little resentful.

I’ve got two grands who celebrate their birthdays this month, and both sets of parents have gone out of their ways to make each child feel special. Beck in Denver had friends and relatives come to his “Beck the Halls” party, where everyone, including the guest of honor, wore ugly Christmas sweaters.

Brooklyn, at four, had a Little Mermaid party. As different from a Christmas gathering as you can get.

I laughed as my husband and son-in-law blew up balloons till they were both lightheaded, creating the pieces for a balloon banner that resembled underwater bubbles. My daughter made fondant shells to adorn the cake, and all the food was labeled with things found under the sea–including a “shark-uterie” tray and kelp made out of candy. And her other Nana–who is fondly known as Bubbles–sewed her a mermaid dress.

There will be no forgetting this birthday.

Both were experiences to remember. These parents know how to celebrate well.

In the midst of all the festivities and the “pin the Sebastian near Ariel and Flounder” game, there was a quiet reminder that Christmas was just around the corner.

Our tree stood in the background, the lights on and the small ones trying to pull off ornaments.

These weren’t the only birthdays we celebrate in December.

It was a reminder that, in the midst of the fun and festivities, it’s easy to forget why Christmas is a day worth remembering with glad tidings of great joy.

God entered our world as a Baby. The Promised One, who had been anticipated for centuries, arrived.

The party of the century never happened. The coming King was overlooked, His glory masked in a manger. Instead of a coronation, He was rushed from his home at an early age and taken to Egypt to avoid the anger and murderous intent of half-crazed king.

No Pinterest garlands or bouquets. No hand-engraved announcements. Those in attendance, local shepherds who’d seen the proclamation of an angel, came as they were. Dirty and smelly, no party attire, having been in the fields with their flocks–they came in reverent worship.

Why? Why celebrate what so many in the world are trying to ignore? Calling it “Winter Holiday” instead of Christmas. Making Santa the centerpiece of a season of exhaustive gift-giving.

Why celebrate this birthday?

Because God is real. His coming can’t–and won’t–be ignored. People can reject the gift He’s given, can refuse what we all so desperately need.

Love and forgiveness.

Without Him, it can’t be an eternal party.

The good news?

We’re all invited.

 

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