For to us a child is born…. Isaiah 9:6
I got a frantic email last week about a child’s birthday party that Saturday. The mom was apologizing profusely. Weeks before, when she was creating the evite for her daughter’s sixth birthday party, she had overlooked inputting Jocelyn into the evite.
Jocelyn loves this little girl and would have been over the moon to attend. But I am an advanced planner and had already filled that Saturday with other commitments. All week I tried to problem solve to find a way to make it happen. But you know how this time of year is: we’re all overbooked with no space for spontaneous invites.
Years ago, my mom gave me a small laminated card with a story called “Mary’s Dream” on it. It’s author is unknown. Every Advent, I pull that card out and reread the story.
In it, Mary is talking to Joseph about a bad dream she had. She explains that she sees a vision of us all cleaning, decorating and shopping for Jesus’ birthday party. She describes the glistening lights, the craziness of having a tree inside our homes that we decorate, and the stacks of wrapped presents we put underneath it. Her confusion increases when she sees us all, on her Son’s birthday, exchanging gifts with each other, and not with Him.
Every year, without fail, it is like a punch in my gut when I read, “I had the strangest feelings that if our Son had gone to this celebration, He would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so gay, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus – not to be wanted at His own birthday party.”
Although the birthday party invitation to Jocelyn was last minute, the invitation to Jesus’ birthday party never is. We know well in advance that it is December 25th. And, unlike a child’s party where some are included and others aren’t, this is one birthday we are all invited to, year after year. Yet I’ve missed His birthday party so many times in the past, I’ve made Mary’s bad dream a reality over and over again. How can I possibly put forth the effort to fit in the birthday party for the child of a friend, but not the birthday party for the child of God?
So, darn it all, my family and I are going to attend Jesus’ birthday party this year. I baked Him a cake that I decorated, not so much with skill, but with love. My kids are doing small acts of kindness as their birthday gifts to Him. For each one, they get to put a piece of yarn in the manger to make it softer and cozier for Him when He is born there tomorrow.
And before we open even a single gift from Santa on Christmas morning, we’ll light the candles on His cake and sing Happy Birthday to Him.
I wish you all a magical and blessed Christmas!
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