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“Happy Birthday to You…”

When my kids are ready to go to a birthday party, I always remind them to think about the birthday child and whether or not HE OR SHE is having a good time. Sometimes my kids can start to focus on themselves and whether or not they enjoy elements of the party but I like to help them to focus on the guest of honor and do their part to help the birthday child get the most out of the party. That means if they happen to be having pizza for lunch and that’s not my child’s favorite item for lunch then she sets that preference aside and is glad that their friend is having HER favorite item for lunch. I want my kids to learn to be happy when someone else is happy. I want them to think about the birthday child and make it about them.
It can be a little bit abstract but I also try to bring this attitude into the celebration of Christmas. What would make Jesus happy on His birthday? He may not enjoy a new bike or the latest new video game or care what we are having for lunch but what can we offer? Perhaps your youngest child can simply draw a picture to share. Or, your teen might like to write a letter showing His commitment and appreciation. Perhaps the entire family can bless a convalescent home with some caroling or share kindness with a lonely neighbor.
You know that everyone loves a birthday party! This year bake a cake together and sing your loudest “Happy Birthday” of the year!¬†Throw a party for the biggest birthday of the all! Your children will get into all elements of the party as you share your excitement and vision with them. Keep your holiday focus on the One who makes it the most meaningful celebration of the year!
Merry CHRISTmas, all!
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A man tells his friend that three weeks ago his aunt left him a $10,000 inheritance. His friend exclaims, “Wow, that’s a lot of money.” Then the man tells his friend that two weeks ago his cousin won the lottery and shared $25,000 with him. The friend is amazed and cannot believe the good luck. Then the man tells his friend that last week he himself won the lotto and gained a quarter of a million dollars. Puzzled at the sad face, his friend says, “That’s incredible! You’ve had such an amazing few weeks…Why the long face then?” The man replied, “This week…nothing!”

Isn’t that just how we, ourselves, are? We get so focused on today, this moment, that we cannot see the good in the overall picture. I know that I can get so caught up in the challenges of the moment that I can’t see the forest through the trees. I can’t see past the complaining child in front of me to remember that my child is a complete gift to me meant for my blessing and that every challenge and every situation is meant for our mutual benefit. Even in the hard times there is purpose and when I remember that, it’s much easier to accept and receive the challenges with the right attitude.

So, I’m thankful for the “normal” things this year still…for health, family, my home, good food, good friends, good schools, and the resources to have all we need and so much more. But, this year I am also thankful for the challenges, the hard times, the moments when my human eyes cannot see one ounce of good. I am thankful for even these parts of my life because I know that nothing good comes easy. I know that good can come out of the hardest moments. I know that there is no situation that is totally hopeless. And, I know that I have a good and secure future. Nothing can take that away from me and really, is there anything more precious in life than that?

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, but let’s never stop being thankful.

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