Last Saturday, in “Christ’s Birth: A Call for Celebration! Part 1”, we saw that it is important to remember this greatest of births…Not just once a year, but every day of the year. This raises the question, however, of just how we should celebrate this greatest of births…
As I think of some birthday celebrations in the past, I am reminded of the one or two times when the entire acknowledgement of my birthday consisted of receiving some presents as we sat down to eat the dinner I had prepared. I did appreciated the gifts, but somehow I was left feeling…cheated. I believe that Jesus must feel this way as well with our traditional celebration of His birthday at Christmastime.
My wonderful family usually doesn’t celebrate my birthday that way, however. They usually make it a very special day where they have put aside their regular agendas and spend the day with me. I remember one year when my family took me out hiking at a local provincial park for my birthday. We stopped for ice cream on the way back, and when we got home, my youngest son cooked a special dinner of homemade ravioli, Caesar Salad and a Ricotta pie. I have to admit that although I remember that day in great detail, I have no recollection whatsoever of the gifts I am sure they must have given me…
There were actually two things that made this birthday special: My family gave me their undivided attention; and they made an effort to do things they knew pleased me. Herein lies the two-fold secret to how we can celebrate Jesus’ birth–every day of the year.
First of all, just like I appreciate so much when my family spends their day with me on my birthday, wouldn’t it be more meaningful to Jesus for us to celebrate His birthday by giving Him our undivided attention, even for a short period of time, every day? Remember that Jesus loves us and wants to spend time with us:
a) He stands at the door and knocks, ever hoping we will let Him in: “…If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20 NIV).
b) He desires to be with us, to commune with us, to interact with us, to be part of our lives: “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant dos not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14-15 NIV).
By setting aside special time with Jesus–time to read the Word of God, time to reflect on its Truths, time to talk to Him, time to listen for His voice–we are showing appreciation for His wonderful gift to mankind. We are truly celebrating His birthday.
The second thing we can learn from my birthday celebrations comes from the fact that I really appreciate the times my family members go out of their way to do what they know pleases me. Cooking my dinner, for example, always pleases me. I also lovw to go out for hikes, and one of my favorite summer things to do is to stop for ice cream. The same way my family makes me feel special by doing the things that please me, we can celebrate Jesus’ birthday by going out of our way to please Him.
How do we please Him? The Bible tells us two ways, actually:
a) By doing what He asks us to do: “If you love me, obey my commandments.” (John 14:15 NLT). It’s as simple as that, and His commandments are not complicated at all: “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40 NLT).
b) By putting our faith in Him: “And it is impossible to please God without faith.” (Heb. 11:6a NLT). If we want to truly please Jesus, we must put our trust in Him!
When we love God and one another, and when we put our trust in Jesus, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus has given us by His birth on this Earth. We are, in essence, “celebrating” His birthday by making Him very happy.
Let’s not limit our celebration of Jesus’ birth to Christmastime. Instead, let’s spend time with Jesus and do what He asks us to do every day of the year. Let’s listen for His voice, trust Him and show our love for Him by loving one another; for in so doing, we will truly be giving Jesus a birthday celebration fit for a King!
Even though my birthdays are made the most special by the times my family has given their days to be with me, I must admit that I also appreciate the gifts. Besides, gifts are a traditional part of a birthday celebration. Are there any gifts we can give Jesus on a daily basis that are worthy of a King? Join us on Tuesday for “Christ’s Birth: A Call for Celebration, Part 3: Gifts Fit for a King”!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Christ’s Birth: A Call for Celebration!” mini-series, please click here.)