When I was growing up we did not have the lavished birthday celebrations that some people have today. I am amazed at how much money is spent with all the party prep, food and entertainment to celebrate a birthday. Though my family did make it a special day with birthday cards a present or two, our favorite meal followed by our favorite birthday cake.
I remember the first time we celebrated my husband’s birthday. At the time we were engaged and my mom asked Jim what he wanted for his birthday meal and cake. Jim looked at her with a puzzled look and replied, “I’ve never had a birthday cake before.” My mom cried and then made sure he had a special birthday meal and cake.
Now, imagine making party plans for someone and you get so “wrapped” up in all the party arrangements that you forget to invite the person whose birthday you are celebrating!
The other day Jim and I were watching one of our Christmas movie traditions, The Bishop’s Wife – (1947). We always try to make this one of our first Christmas movies to watch. The message of the movie reminds us that with all the hustle and bustle of parties, shopping, baking, traveling etc… that we not forget whose birthday we are celebrating.
At the end of the movie, Bishop Henry Brougham brings a simple yet heart stirring message at the end of the movie:
“Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts, but especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled… all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger, it’s his birthday we are celebrating. Don’t ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most… and then let each put in his share; Loving kindness, warm hearts, and the stretched out hand of tolerance; all the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”
So this Christmas season, let us not forget whose birthday we are celebrating. What gift will you bring to the Son of God who loved us so much that He left the portals of Heaven to be born in a lowly manger to grow up and die on a cruel cross for our sins so we who believe in Him may have eternal life?
Christ does not want lavished presents and parties – He desires our hearts to be committed to Him.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1, 2
- Gift of time
- Seeing Christmas