Birthdays are for celebrating a person.
When a baby turns one year old, we celebrate the qualities of that child. Even in one year of life, we can see characteristics such as fussiness, compliance, joyfulness, and sadness.
At the other end of life’s spectrum, when we celebrate Grandpa’s 98th year after his birth, we celebrate the character of grandpa: hardworking, encouraging, strict, and generous, for example.
What about Jesus? What qualities of Jesus do we celebrate at Christmas? Each Sunday before Christmas, in worship we will celebrate a quality of Jesus, which we remember at his birth.
Christmas is not about the lights, parties, traffic jams, and sometimes whining children – I can’t think of one child who does that! Nor is Christmas merely about the shepherds, angels, and one inhospitable innkeeper. Christmas begs us to celebrate Jesus, the person.
When I celebrate my son’s birthday, I don’t celebrate the fact that the University of Kentucky was playing the University of Louisville in the football stadium just outside his hospital window. I remember it, and I remember the roar of the crowd, but I don’t care who won. On my son’s birthday, I celebrate Ryan: his compassion for others, the joy that shines when he smiles, and his spirit which trusts Jesus. And when my daughter Emily turns 19, I will celebrate her spontaneity, her passion, and her sense of justice, which moves her to stand up for people who are oppressed by others.
What do you celebrate about Jesus? Birthdays celebrate the person, not the party. So let’s truly celebrate Jesus this Christmas. Come join us, and celebrate Jesus with us.
I’ll see you Sunday!