Happy Birthday, Jesus.
I was thinking about celebrating the birth of Jesus. It’s something He never told us to do. He certainly never told us to go into debt and live a hurried life in order to make it to everone’s RamaChaunaKwamas party. We see pictures of Him in a manger and angel’s singing, while a few barn animals mill around. But I think if we are focused only on His birth, we are missing the bigger picture.
Now don’t get me wrong. The fact that God Almighty would choose to enter the world as a vulnerable child and not the conquering King that the Jewish people were waiting for is amazing and humbling. I think it deserves quite a bit of reflection. The meekness of our Lord was seen from the beginning. But I think if we stop our thoughts at that, we are missing the point.
What if, on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday we just looked at pictures of the day he was born. What if speeches were made about how long his mom was in labor or whether or not his father was present. We have a day to honour his birthday because of the way he spent his life changing the lives of others. He saw the need to give his life, quite literally, to the oppressed and mistreated. It is appropriate that we should take time to reflect on his contributions to our nation and the world and to carry on many of his principles.
Likewise, while the coming of The King was so miraculous, spend Christmas thinking about more than a cold stable and a young girl pondering the impossible in her heart. He lived so that we could be spiritually alive. He touched the sick and outcast and gave them their dignity back. He brought life in the midst of death. Most importantly He did what we could not do. He fulfilled the covenant of God and was torn and bruised and crushed for our sin. He took what we deserved because He could and we can’t.
I think it is overwhelming to think that throughout the Gospels, Jesus refers to God as Abba Father. This personal and intimate name meant “daddy.” The only time he doesn’t call God by this name is when He was on the cross and He cried out “My God, why have You forsaken me?” He was cut off from His Father so that we wouldn’t have to be. He was torn from the intimacy with His Abba so that we could have that intimacy.
Not by our hands can we earn this. We bring nothing to Him but our need. And our need is great. And when the Father raised Him from dead, He conquered the power of sin and death to bring us into relationship with Him.
Celebrate that as you bring out the cake and sing “Happy Birthday Jesus.”