Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
We have a large family filled with lots of grandchildren. You might say our quiver is full, overflowing with blessings! Blessings should be celebrated, and nearly every month our family gathers to celebrate the birthday of one of our children or grandchildren. Acknowledging the source of blessings, we circle together in our kitchen, holding hands in one accord, praying in thankfulness for the special birthday person or persons.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
With so many birthday blessings to buy for, “shopping is my ministry” becomes more than a slogan, it’s reality. Besides, finding just the right gift makes my heart happy. It never fails when shopping, God sends someone who needs a listening ear, encouragement, hope, or prayer. Givers love to give, and sometimes all someone wants is to be loved and cared about.
Birthday celebrations certainly have changed since my childhood. We see birthday celebrations of extravagant parties, expensive cakes, and extraordinary destinations, for that extra special person. Nothing wrong with this, but my oh my how times have changed.
Out of all the birthdays celebrated, the one actually worthy of extravagance is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let’s face it, without His birth we would have no hope and no Savior. We would still be trying to live under the Old Testament law, abiding by rules and sacrificing animals for the forgiveness of our sins. Praise God for the birth of Jesus!
Now we know that December 25th is not the actual birthday of Jesus. No one knows the actual date, but does that really matter when it comes to celebrating our Savior and all He has done for us? The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays, they considered birthdays a pagan tradition or perhaps, just another reason for Rome to party. If that is so, have you considered why we celebrate our own birthdays and those of family members? It doesn’t make much sense to celebrate other birthdays and not Jesus.
When we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are celebrating God’s promise of a Savior. Over 300 Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled by His arrival. His first breath marked a new beginning for the world. Not since the fall of man in the garden had there been hope for mankind! In a world filled with darkness, despair, and despots, God sent His Light through a baby born in a manger. God sent His son to offer salvation to all who call upon His name and believe!
While there were no King’s palace guards sharing mementos of the event, extravagant cakes, or gluten free ice cream, there was a bright light in the sky, a star, like an all points bulletin to Bethlehem. There to the rear of the town was the Bethlehem barnyard, sitting down wind of the significant spots, filled with farm animals, manure, straw, and a manger. In the manger, wrapped up tightly in swaddling clothes, cozy and warm, the Savior of the world.
Somewhere far south of significance, shepherds sat down with the sheep on the soft grass, their day’s work coming to an end. The shepherds, society’s castoffs, banned from Temple worship, were about to see and hear the unforgettable. This would not be some musical birthday card, or Happy Birthday banner, this is God saying, “Look and listen, a Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord!”
Like a spiritual and musical pinata bursting with light across the evening sky, God’s heavenly choir began the celebration of hope for all people! Understandably, like all who have been touched by God, the shepherds were moved to action, and sought out the newborn King.
Jesus’ birth came at a time when people were not expecting the Savior to show up. People had their own ideas of how He would arrive. They expected a splendidly dressed King and got swaddling clothes and a baby. They wanted a warrior to take down Rome. The people failed to recognize there was a bigger problem than Rome. Sin. God’s ways are not our ways.
Do you remember the first breath, the cry of your own child? Most moms and dads cry along with their baby, happy tears of great joy, celebrating life to the fullest. We continue to celebrate year after year, well into adulthood. Even though there is no mention of celebrating our child’s birth in the Bible, if the emphasis is praising and thanking God, this should not be a problem.
My daughter Candice was born on Christmas. Her due date was in February, but when the contractions started there was no stopping them. Babies don’t abide by our schedules, calendars, or due dates, sometimes they come when we least expect it. When they come the celebration begins!
Jesus came to bring light to a world filled with darkness. His light cannot be blown out like candles on a cake, it is a gift shared with all believers. The Word says, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12
If you are a born-again believer, you have received the gift of Light from our Savior Jesus Christ. Many of us have been commenting on all the violence, despair, and darkness in the world, and granted, there is no shortage of darkness. But we must be careful not to blend into the darkness with our thoughts and actions. We must be the Light!
To truly be the gift of Light, the gift must be shared with others.