Today is December 15. Today is my birthday.
December can be a hard month to have a birthday. It seems the whole world is focused on Christmas, and your personal special day gets lost in the lights and tinsel. Instead of having a birthday party, it’s more likely you find yourself at someone else’s holiday gathering. With all that delicious holiday baking enticing you, you feel guilty eating your birthday cake—if you get one at all. And balloons just don’t look right next to a Christmas tree.
So what’s a December baby to do? Adjust that old attitude!
The whole world is focused on Christmas? That’s great! The crucial point here is realizing that it’s not all about me. It’s about Jesus. My attention needs to be on Him, not myself. Perhaps having a birthday near Christmas will help me learn that lesson sooner than if I’d been born in July.
It also pays to have low expectations. If my birthday present comes wrapped in paper adorned with reindeer, no problem. Hey, I got a present! If everyone is too busy to come to a party for me, at least I have friends who invite me to their holiday parties.
In the last few years, I’ve added two people to my life who have made my December birthday a lot more fun. First, our daughter had the brilliant good sense to marry Jeremy. His birthday is December 23—and he loves it that way. Listening to his reasoning helped me gain a new perspective. He’s never had to go to school on his birthday. (Unfortunately, I did, and often had finals that day and/or the next.) Getting a joint birthday-Christmas present usually means it’s something wonderfully big and desirable. And taking a vacation from work during the holidays means he, his friends, and family can spend time together.
A few years ago I made a new friend and discovered that, although we’re different ages, we were born on the same day. I can’t begin to explain how much better it is to share a birthday with her. Instead of focusing on myself, and whether or not I’m having a “good” day, my attention is now directed to my friend. I want to do all I can so that she has a great birthday. We take one another out to lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant, we use our birthday coupons for free ice cream at Coldstone, and we exchange small gifts. But the best gift is just having her around to be fussed over.
We don’t need a shared birthday as an excuse for focusing on others. Whether it’s our birthday, or any day, we’re called to emulate Jesus and put others’ needs first. The holidays provides extra opportunities to love someone else. Take advantage of the season and reach out, and this might just be your best Christmas ever.