About this Blog

The purpose of this blog is to encourage your personal, daily walk with Jesus Christ, by seeing Him through the eyes of Mark Rodriguez. Updates will be made regularly so please subscribe. Most posts are taken from Mark's private journals or written by his mother unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

One Change can make this the Most Meaningful Christmas Ever

We are a family of December birthdays. My sister and I both have birthdays right before Christmas. As kids my mom tried hard to separate out our birthdays from the Big Day. I had completely themed parties that were not Christmas related (the piano cake was my favorite) and real birthday wrapping paper. We never had the combined birthday/Christmas gift. My mom spoiled us for the adult life where December birthdays are a pain in the butt. 

As an adult, my fellow December birthday buddies and I lament how December birthdays are "the worst." You can't help but think that your January-November born friends are having to squeeze you in to their Christmas hustle and bustle. So you keep your birthday quiet because you don't want to see the panic on your coworkers face when they realize their lunch hour is now going to be about birthday lunch duty not the Christmas shopping they desperately needed to do.

Your spouse is now challenged with buying not one but two gifts, and he better not wrap the birthday present in Christmas paper. Mercy.

I feel the challenge in my own home as I have my own child with a December birthday. We have doomed him to the same fate where he will have to take exams on his birthday, and never really get to be the main event. Sorry, kid. We weren't thinking.
William Joshua born Dec 20, 1999

So, for now while he is home, on December 20th, we make everything STOP. It is Will's day. We hang the birthday banner. We make the funny face pancakes. We each tell him what we love about him.  He gets to choose his favorite dinner and eat off the "You are Special" plate. We give him things that he likes. We talk about the day he was born, and how we wanted him. We talk about how much he has grown up and our favorite memories.

It has been the December Birthday Bitterness that has breathed new life into my Christmas.  Because, duh, isn't that supposed to be Jesus' birthday?  Do you struggle with finding Him in the Christmas Season (or "Stressmas" Season)? Is it possible that maybe Jesus would prefer not to be the afterthought, the inconvenience or the Birthday lunch duty between the "real" parties? Is He hoping someone will dig out the Birthday paper that is under the humongous piles of Santa and Rudolph themed red and green paper? Maybe he wants a little more than the obligatory Luke 2 reading crammed in before Santa comes?

Forgive me if I am stating the obvious, but I believe here is the key to the Meaningful Christmas we all want. Make it about His birthday.  This is about the heart, not the actions really.  Because we can make the Birthday Cake for baby Jesus and hang the lights, and give the gifts, but if it is done with stress and obligation and because it is "tradition" with no heart in it, I don't think He wants it.  He'd rather us wait and celebrate Him at another time when we can give Him our full attention.

How would Christmas be different if everything we do is through the filter of "It's Your Birthday, Jesus, what do you want to do?" I can apply my earthly birthday traditions to my relationship with Jesus.  I can talk to Him about the day He was born in my heart and how much I wanted Him.  I can recall the way my life changed for the better since that "birth."  I can hang the lights because they are my birthday banner celebrating Him.  I can tell Him what I love about Him and why He is special to me.  And I can ask Him what He would like to do on His day, and make that a day about Him. Each action can be an anticipatory action of love as I get ready to celebrate the birth of the real life, in the flesh, Son of God.  If Jesus visited Dec 25th, would He even know which house was hosting His party? May He easily find yours and mine because our invitation clearly states who we celebrate. 

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