CELEBRATION A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY
~ Pastor Robert Fleischmann
Some Christians downplay celebrating birthdays, worried that it is too self-serving. Cults, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, do not celebrate birthdays at all. I propose that there is a different way to look at this.
When we celebrate a birthday we celebrate God’s gift of life, of family and of friendship. That is especially the case on December 25th when we celebrate the birthday of Jesus.
Scholars do not believe Jesus was born on December 25. The evidence of Scripture suggests he was born in the springtime, when shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. Those shepherds came to the manger to see for themselves this newborn child and to celebrate his birth. Later, wise men visited the baby at a home – and they brought gifts.
We do not know if Jesus celebrated his birth each year. Scripture does record that the years were being counted – Jesus was in the temple at the age of 12 (Luke 2:42) and began his ministry at 30 (Luke 3:23). Somebody was keeping track!
We also learn in Scripture that great blessings warranted celebration – be it the Feast of Lights, the Day of Atonement or the annual Passover.
What is important when celebrating a birth is the attitude of the heart. In these New Testament times our goal is to glorify God in all we think, say or do (1 Corinthians 10:31). A Christian does that in a proper birthday celebration.
We glorify God by showing him love and loving others. With parties and gifts we demonstrate love for others while glorifying God for this great miracle of life, friendship, family and – when it comes to Jesus – the gift of salvation!
Christmas is an ideal time to demonstrate “the Christian spirit” while participating in “the Christmas spirit.” In “the Christian spirit” December 25th is a day to honor God for this gift of our salvation by showing love to others. When we love others we are, in fact, loving God (Matthew 25:40).
I encourage you to robustly celebrate the birth of God’s Son. It is, after all, the greatest of all blessings and most worthy of celebration. Demonstrate your love for God by showing love to others. Maybe you do it with gifts. Maybe it is with a surprise visit. Or maybe it is simply with thoughtful words written in a card. Let the love you show others at Christmas correctly reflect the love you have for your Savior. It is fine to celebrate – when your heart in the right place!
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:13