Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Forgotten At Christmas

Alan Riley

My father was born on this day- December 22. For his entire life, he was always getting “combination” presents – birthday and Christmas. Every year on his birthday, there weren’t balloons and birthday streamers. His birthday decorations were Christmas trees, Christmas lights and Santa Claus stuff. When he did get a separate present for Christmas, chances are it would be wrapped with… you guessed it- Christmas paper.

I remember him telling me how as a child he couldn’t help but feel a little cheated. People were so busy celebrating Christmas that his birthday got overlooked.

A couple of years ago, I saw a cartoon in the Atlanta paper that really touched my heart and made me think. It was drawn by Mike Luckovich, the Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. It showed a little girl with a birthday hat on standing in the middle of a sea of gaudy Christmas decorations. The dejected looking little girl says, “You know, when your birthday comes at Christmas time, people just forget all about it.”

Standing behind the little girl, looking equally sad, is Jesus.

“Tell me about it,” he says.

Just like the little girl in the cartoon – and my dad in real life – Jesus’ birthday is all too often forgotten about because of Christmas. How ironic! What started out as an observance of His birth has somehow morphed into gaudy decorations, parties, shopping, songs about decking halls and jingling bells, and some vague acknowledgment of peace on earth and good will among men.

The real Christmas is remembering the greatest and most costly gift we will ever be given. It is when we stop to take in the awe of the only child Who ever chose to be born. It is when we stop to remember this child would soon also choose to give His life up. For you. For me.

Let’s purpose in our hearts that this year we won’t get so caught up in Christmas that we forget Jesus’ birthday.

~found at Streaming Faith (hat tip to Learning Patience)

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  1. What a great story and wonderful reminder (I have two born around Christmastime and I always thought it was the neatest thing).

  2. Beautiful, and a great, different perspective. Thanks!

  3. Wow what a great story! My birthday is Dec. 26th so I can definitely relate. I never thought of it from Jesus’ perspective though!

  4. Amen.

    And I have a girl born the 22nd too.

  5. This one post, for me, goes down as the best post of 2007. Thank you for it.

  6. I knew where you were going as soon as I started reading. I am a Christmas baby and am so fortunate that those closest to me have been so good to seperate my Christmas from my birthday….
    I am even more blessed that those same people have kept Christs birth the forefront of the celebration…and so I get to strive to do the same for my kids!

  7. My birthday is December 4 and my mother’s is December 18 and my sister’s is January 4 so we often got our celebrations lumped in together with each other and with Christmas.

    When I got married, my dear husband refused to combine Christmas and my birthday and when our sons were born we continued the tradition – no Christmas decorations on display until after December 4 (my elder son even won a Traditions contest at school with his essay on that tradition.

    Now we celebrate my birthday and Christ’s birthday separately and with equal joy! We even sing happy birthday dear Jesus at dinner on Christmas day – and my sons are in their twenties!

  8. heartwhispers says:

    My husband was born on the 24th of December and we were also married on the 24th. We do usually get separate cards for each occasion. But sometimes, hubby gets a “larger” gift in combination of all three occasions :D. I don’t think he minds one little bit.

  9. This was very nice, and a great point. Keeping Christ in Christmas is what the season is really about, what a great reminder, and the empathetic story works as a perfect way to explain this!

    In Christ,