For over 2000 years, millions of people across the world have come together in different ways to celebrate the birthday of a King.
What makes this story; some say the greatest ever told, so impactful to people in different cultures, countries and generations? From the supernatural, to the humble beginnings of a child born in a stable, there are story elements that catch our attention and capture our hearts.
Today, when we celebrate birthdays, we often go over the top. There are those surprise birthdays where your family and co-workers organize a party behind your back. You show up to an invited location to find balloons and decorations, friends and food galore.
It was different in Bethlehem on that dark but starry night. With no room available, a tired and travel-weary couple would end up at a stable, a place for animals.
With no fanfare, or cell phones to capture every moment, the birth of a special child would occur among very few people. The world would soon be put on notice with a bright star that wise men would follow.
There would be gifts on that day. Not the kind that we give to each other today but the kind that would show respect for the significance of the recipient.
It is a story that has been told and retold, but somehow, in 2017, it seems to be less relevant, less impactful. The images, often in Nativity scenes, are seen less. People, communities, are timid in sharing their appreciation for a lesson they’ve learned and have been told for generations.
Societies are brought together through familiar practices and important traditions. Jews have celebrated Passover for much longer than Christians have celebrated Christmas. Throughout the world, cultures are emboldened and strengthened through common beliefs and rituals.
In our American culture, the homogenization of products and everyday items is now spreading to our deep and spiritual, long-held beliefs.
The beauty of the Christmas story is that it involved a messenger, a new leader that was meant for all people, of all backgrounds. His message was that of hope, love and acceptance.
So we should not be embarrassed by openly saying Happy Birthday, not to winter or the season, but to Christ himself. Doing this doesn’t mean that we do not recognize all the other ways people choose to carry on this timeless tradition, but it does recognize that the important believe our culture has held for a long time, should continue.
You know that feeling you get at Christmas? The feeling of warmth and love. It all started that night in Bethlehem. In that stable. On the birthday of a King.