Merry Birth-mas

Romans 8:32

Sunday was my birthday, and it was a very good one.  I spent the afternoon surrounded by my mom. my kids, and my grandkids. While others may complain about getting older, I honestly don’t mind.  For one thing, I am finally old enough that my advice is actually considered before it’s dismissed.  Also, my gray (white-ish) hair seems to attract attention.  For better or worse, I get noticed. (Pet me or kick me, but don’t ignore me.)  I much prefer my adult birthdays to my childhood and adolescent birthdays.

My birthday is in December, a week and a day from Christmas. Here’s to all you December birthers; I feel your pain. Growing up in a poverty-level home with a December birthday presents a special temptation for the parents to present their present for the two occasions, simultaneously. “Here is your Birthday/Christmas gift.” The last few days, I have been trying to recall specific birthday gatherings I experienced as a child.  I had little success.  I remember my sixth birthday.  I received a giant stuffed purple velvet python. At least I think it was stuffed. It seems we lost a dachshund around that time.  I remember another birthday, perhaps ninth or tenth, when I received a Hot Wheels Fat Track.  I also remember my sixteenth birthday, because I got my driver’s license.  I aced the test except for parallel parking.  I don’t know anyone who can parallel park a 1972 Buick Electra 225.  The beast is 228 inches (19 ft) long, but I digress. I recruited my mother to help me remember my birthdays. She acknowledged they were often combined with Christmas. Could she remember any of my individual birthday events? She could not, except to remind me that one time a friend brought baby guppies in a mason jar as a gift. I remembered the guppies, but my recollection was they were given for my sister’s birthday rather than mine.  Whomever was the rightful owner of the guppies, there were plenty go go around. Those things multiply at an alarming rate.

There’s another version of the combined gift giving. This happens when there are two siblings in the home.  My brother is two years younger than I, so there were times when we were given a single toy as a present for both of us.  In a former post, I mentioned a “set” of boxing gloves. It all came in one package, but because there were two pair, the set was a gift to both of us.  Likewise, one year we received a Rock-em-Sock-em Robots. This single toy was a gift to both of us, but there are two robots on the toy, and there were two brothers, so it sufficed as our Christmas gift.

Rock em sock em

These toy gifts were actually very rare.  I believe one reason I cannot recall specific birthday gifts may be due to pragmatism.  If I could rewind my life and view each of my birthdays and Christmases, I wager my gifts, more often than not, were socks and underwear, the gifts no child wants.  One of the best Christmas sermons I ever heard talked about just that, socks and underwear.  The speaker illuminated to us the idea that God, like our parents, doesn’t always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need.  I wish I had written that sermon.  Oddly enough, when my children asked me what I wanted for my birthday and Christmas, I told them “athletic socks – in any color except white – and stuff that smells good.” I’ve outgrown my need for toys.  Having my family surround me and enjoying a meal and quality time together is present enough.

The greatest gift of all was a combination gift.  God’s son, his gift to the world, is the gift that fits every occasion. This gift gives you a new birth to celebrate. It’s a shared gift, enough for every person who has or ever will live.  It’s the gift we most need. Dear readers, I wish you all a Merry Birth-mas.

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Published in: on December 20, 2017 at 11:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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