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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On Birthdays and Christmas - which is better?

One of my children recently asked me, "Which do you think is better: your birthday or Christmas?"

I hadn't thought about it that much - really.  I didn't have an answer right off-hand, but on further thought, I do.

In her mind with my birthday being exactly one week before Christmas, I had a lot of fun experiences to compare.  I had never spent much time comparing.  The farthest I'd gotten in my ponderings was to realize how self-centered I tend to be and that God, in His great wisdom, allowing for my me-centeredness, placed my birthday one week before His incarnation so as to make sure I didn't dwell on my own importance for too long.

To a child, birthdays and Christmas can be extremely similar.  Both have gifts, both have treats and goodies.  Both are celebrated and anticipated.  Both are delightful and possibly stressful at the same time.  But there the similarities end.

Because Christmas is something the vast majority of the world participates in - in some way.  The festivities abound far beyond a birthday celebration.  And Christmas is about Someone Else, and not about me.

As I thought about it, I realized that what matters more to me is Christmas - hands down.  Christmas is SO much better than a birthday.  Christmas has meaning whereas a birthday just changes the number I fill in on required forms.

Today I am 37.  Big deal.  My life may have significance and meaning.  But not without Christmas.

The birth of Jesus makes all the difference in every detail and aspect of my life.  I'd even say 'blue is bluer and green is greener because the God Who made colour entered our world and came to be with us.'

Someone else said the same thing:
"Heav'n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen:
Birds with gladder songs o'er-flow, Flow'rs with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know as now I know, I am His and He is mine."
(George Robinson)

So to celebrate my birthday I will share with you the best of Christmas:  Not only that Jesus came into our broken and suffering world, bringing hope and divine peace that only He could bring.  Not only that the marvel and wonder of God-made-flesh would be beyond our ability to grasp and comprehend -

"Our God, heav'n cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
Heav'n and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter a stable-place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate, Jesus Christ."
(Christina Rossetti)

Not only did He come.

He came in love.

And not just fluffy-feel-good love - nebulous, unspecific, without substance or meaning.

The joy of Jesus birth for me is that He was born for me.  The best news about Christmas is not that Jesus came.  But that Jesus came, and He loves me.

Christmas is awe-inspiring because God, enmeshed with humanity, becoming present in our own skin and DNA, welcomes me as His child, because He loves me.

This love,
                              this gift,
                                                    this grace 
                                                                       
                                  can be yours this Christmas too.





1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday, Sarah! We're grateful for the gift of you, and for the ways we see God's own Son, the greatest gift, reflected in you!

    the Medlins

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