It’s that time of year again, where we celebrate three holidays back-to-back—Thanksgiving, that just came, Christmas that’s only two weeks from today, and New Year’s Day that shortly follows. With this in mind, I asked a question on my Facebook page, “What is your favorite holiday, and why is it special to you?” My friend Caleigh Lee gave a response that surprised and delighted me. She wrote,
“My favorite holiday is my birthday in that Jesus gave me life. A life to live for Him and to enjoy each of these holidays and then some.”
I love Caleigh’s response! With this, she acknowledges God as her Creator, and that the finished work of Calvary’s cross gives her a reason to celebrate her birthday. She has chosen to bring glory and honor to her Savior, acknowledging Him in every activity that she does, not only on holidays, but every day, and in particular on the day she was born.
Had Caleigh not asked Jesus to be her Savior, she would only have physical life, but because she has invited Him to be her Savior, He has given her purpose to her days. This was a wise decision.
Upon reading Caleigh’s response, two scriptures came to mind:
Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Proverbs 3:5a KJV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.
Proverbs 1:7a KJV
Caleigh’s decision to acknowledge Jesus as her source is a way of applying these two proverbs.
These outline the steps to a blessed life— When we acknowledge Jesus as the source of wisdom and we reverence Him, we have peace. Jesus gives us life eternal, but He equally gives us a purpose here on Earth. Caleigh is secure in her Savior’s love. He gave her a birthday, and a spiritual birthday, so she celebrates by sharing her faith. Glory!
I love that Caleigh unabashedly acknowledges Jesus values her birthday. He celebrates the day she made entrance into this world (see Psalm 139). Before Caleigh was ever born, God fashioned her in the secret place, possessing her reigns, determining her delicate form, choosing her eye color, how many hairs would be on her crown, whether she would have curly or straight hair, and other outward features,
He also tucked within her talents and giftings that she would someday develop. Would she be able to play an instrument well? God knew. Perhaps Caleigh was destined to become a mathematician. God knew this also, for He provided the talent before she had her first birthday. These aptitudes came from her Creator. Straight from a heart of love, He deposited these within His child, Caleigh. And then Father God gave Caleigh life so she could live these talents out.
Let’s talk about your birthday. Whether you were born into a family who has celebrated your every milestone, like walking, talking, and reading your first primer, or whether you were born into a family who did not acknowledge you, the fact remains Father God has a purpose for your life that He gave you before you were ever born, and before you got an opportunity to meet the Savior Jesus Christ. You have a lifetime to discover the talents and giftings Father God tucked inside you, and you can use these to glorify Jesus Christ.
Christmas is the next holiday we will celebrate. In fact, for many of us, we are already celebrating by lighting Advent candles, where, with each candle that we light during the days lead up to Christmas, we recognize attributes about the Savior who gives purpose to our days.
The third candle in the Advent wreath is called is the Shepherd’s Candle. With the lighting of this candle, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It is traditionally pink to represent flesh, and divine love. We acknowledge that Jesus Christ was born by the Virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus came as “the Word made flesh” of John 1:14. The second candle is the Bethlehem candle, which also recognizes Jesus’ birth. What is special about the Shepherd’s candle is that we acknowledge we must make a decision to accept King Jesus, born in this humble manger, as Lord of our lives.
On Jesus’ birthday, and He chose to leave the riches of Heaven in order to walk amongst mankind (see Philippians 2). Jesus lived in perfection before He was born. Why did He ever choose to exchange the riches of Heaven for the frail, sinful world we live in? Love compelled Him to accept humanities frailties in order to give us purpose here, and also life eternal.
Although the circumstances Jesus was born into were difficult, that does not mean they were not ordained of God. Remember this, because no matter what circumstance you face, whether it is easy or difficult, follow the path God has ordained for you. The difficulty of a circumstance does not necessarily mean God isn’t in it.
When we read the accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we realize Jesus didn’t even have the basics afforded to a poor family. He was born in a stable, and He didn’t even have a crib—He had only a manger, which the animals fed from. He had no fancy clothes—so Mary and Joseph wrapped Him in swaddling rags. Perhaps she wasn’t expecting Him to be born during their travels. He was conceived by an unwed mother, and perhaps because of this or because of the census imposed on Jesus’ family which compelled them to return to Bethlehem, Mary’s own family did not assist her at Jesus’ birth—only Joseph did.
Jesus’ situation got worse when He was only a toddler. While the Wise Men visited the house Joseph had taken Mary to under the cover of night, having been led through a dream to flee to Egypt (see Matthew 2:13.), the wicked King Herod was carrying out his evil plot to kill all the babies in Bethlehem two years and younger in an attempt to murder Jesus. Herod’s wicked motivation was to protect his throne from this baby who was born King of the Jews (see Matthew 2:11-18). Joseph again was warned in a dream after Herod died, not to return to his homeland so he turned aside to the town of Nazareth and dwelt there (see Matthew 2:19-23). Were Joseph and Mary traveling so frequently because they weren’t walking in their callings? No. It was to fulfill prophecy.
These were all difficult days. But interspersed were times of great joy. For instance, John the Baptist leapt inside his mother Elizabeth’s womb as Mary the mother of Jesus visited her (see Luke 1:41). Can you imagine the joy Elizabeth, John, and Jesus experienced as Mary sang a melody inspired by the Spirit? This song, entitled The Magnificat, is recorded in Luke 2:41-56. Jesus also received the blessing of Simeon and of Anna. The Wise Men brought Him gifts. The shepherds reverenced Him. Those were good days. But there were just as many challenges, and He was born to die. As Jesus grew in the knowledge of God, this revelation became clear to Him.
Just think—Jesus could have stayed in the heavenly realm. He could have stayed in the perfect, ethereal realm where the glory flows without measure. But love compelled Him to come to Earth. He became “Emmanuel,” which means, “God with us,” or literally, “the with of God.” (see Matthew 1:23) [Emmanu = the with; El = God]
Did Jesus’ life get better from these humble and difficult beginnings? Yes, and no. There were difficult times that were very painful along with incredible highs as He worked miracles and flowed in the Spirit’s power. He worked miracles and healed broken people because He remained in love regardless of His circumstances, and He could do this because He focused on His God-ordained purpose.
At what seemed to be the end, it marked the beginning. As the religious haters sought to rid the world of the perfect Son of God, satan’s plan unfolded. Jesus was mocked, beaten, and crucified. He could have called a legion of angels to save Him from Calvary’s cross. And yet, Love compelled Him to fulfill this as part of His destiny. He knew that to die in this fashion was God’s plan for His life. God had chosen Jesus to pay the price of humanity’s sin, which was death. The perfect man who knew no sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21) was the only man qualified to complete this task.
Because Jesus had a birthday, and He fulfilled His calling, we also have a birthday and we can have a spiritual one too. Jesus fulfilled His purpose by dying on Calvary’s cross. Jesus accepted Father God’s plan wholeheartedly so that Caleigh could fulfill her destiny, and you could fulfill yours.
Death wasn’t the end of Jesus’ story. On Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but Easter is yet to come. The tomb is empty! Jesus arose, victorious over death, Hell, and the grave. He ascended into Heaven and He is coming again.
You, as Caleigh, are very special to Father God. He has a purpose for your life and He celebrates and watches over you. He proved His love by sending Jesus. And Jesus thought you were worth the price He paid for you on Calvary’s cross.
Try to envision Jesus’ celebratory banner that He waves over your life right now. One day, when Jesus comes again, you will see this banner of love.
We celebrate birthdays once a year, and then they go. Sometimes we try to forget them when the grey in our hair reminds us, we’re a year older. But friend, your Heavenly Father and our Jesus has never stopped celebrating you.
Before you were born, He knew you. When you made your entrance, God threw a party in the heavenlies. The best decision you can make is the one Caleigh has made—she lives every day to make Jesus known.
I wrote a devotion called Mary’s Song on this topic. The flutist in the story knew he had a purpose. With the Lord’s help he will have joy in fulfilling it. I hope Mary’s Song will help you further in knowing that Jesus, who is with you this very moment, celebrates you at all times, in all seasons, and into eternity.
But [Jesus] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11 KJV
The winner of last month’s random drawing contest is:
This month’s contest is for another sterling silver bracelet. For each comment you leave on a VineWords story, you get an entry into the random drawing, so the more comments you leave, the greater your chances of winning. Contest runs Dec 1st through January 1st.
Follow the link below to read Mary’s Song: https://vinewords.net/marys-song/