irthdays are what I'll call the remembrance of one's birth, which in most cultures and religions call for celebration. The birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated worldwide by people of diverse culture, ethnicity, race, religious affiliations etc.
Many families have their Christmas traditions which varies from one home or family to the other. Growing up in an upper-middle class family in Lagos Nigeria, we had our Christmas tradition which was peculiar to my family. From the end of November, we would start prepping the house for the Yuletide season by painting the house, which was an annual event. Then the Christmas decorations would go up along with the Christmas tree. Everyone was involved, but in my teen years, it later became my sole assignment since I was the artistic person in the family. My dad would have the Christmas carol music playing in the background from December to January 12th.
Then it was time to shop for Christmas, we had to have new outfits and shoes for the holidays. If non of my parents travelled out of the country earlier, our shopping that year would either be at Chellarams, Leventis store or my auntie's boutique at Tafawa Balewa Square. The climax of it for us as children was the visit to Father Christmas (Santa Claus) at either the Kingsway or Leventis store.
On Christmas morning, my mother would dress and prepare a healthy looking organic raised turkey while we dressed up for church. After church, we would come home to devour the turkey. I didn't really fancy turkey meat because I felt the meat was always too bland and it was not a really pretty bird. Daddy's friends would visit and they would sit in his bar talking Politics and business while eating and drinking and laughing out loud. In later years, I would bake a Christmas cake which became the highlight of day but I couldn't wait to retire into my solitude in my corner which was my most favorite place. I got easily worn out with too many people around the house. Things changed after mum's death and the first Christmas without her was very difficult for my siblings and myself.
Fast forward, having lived in the US for over two decades, I have seen a lot of commercialization of the Christmas holiday. Some would rather say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" in order not to offend some people and the two major political parties have used that as one of their campaign baits. People would go into debt to buy Christmas gifts. Communities have annual competitions of the most decorated houses etc. The amazing thing is that with all these preparations and celebration of Christmas all over the world, minimal attention is paid to the celebrant Himself.
How would Jesus Christ, the Celebrant, celebrate His own birthday if He were still in the bodily form today? If Jesus were in His human form on earth today, He would be celebrating His approximately 2045th birthday. His pre-incarnate age is endless because He had been before the beginning of all things (John 1:1-18). The exact date of the birth of our Lord is not known but historians and scholars believe He was born sometime between 6 and 4 BC. Although most Christians celebrate Jesus' birthday on the 25th of December, some believe He was probably born sometime in the summer or fall. The Scriptures do not tell us exactly when He was born but there are Biblical accounts of His birth. "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem" (Matt. 2:1). Jesus was born during the rule of Herod the king and He lived for 33 years. From His actions and sayings throughout His 33 years of incarnate existence on the earth, we can clearly prejudge His priorities.
7 Ways Jesus the Messiah would probably have celebrated His birthday:
He probably would have woken up very early to pray- Mark 1:35
He probably would have cooked fish burger for His friends for breakfast - John 21:12-13
He probably would have gone to restore hope to someone - Acts 10:38
He probably would have stopped at a mountain top or a Starbucks telling the people about the kingdom and having a seminar on the 7 "I AM" sayings of Jesus- John 6:35; John 9:5; John 10:9; John 10:11; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 15:1
He probably would have stopped at a well chatting with a societal misfit- John 4:6-26
He probably would have organized a party asking the nameless, the hobos and the ragamuffins to be His guests- Luke 14:15-24
He probably would be knocked out somewhere in a boat tired and sleeping- Mark 4:35-38
This is not a list of religious activities we are compelled to perform, although they are commendable. Christmas is a season of thanksgiving, joy, and sober reflections. It is not a time to outdo your neighbor or go into debt to please someone who might not even care. There is nothing wrong in exchanging gifts or having a celebration, but we should do all things bearing in mind that Jesus Christ was on a mission from the Father, so we should live purposefully, and remember that Jesus Christ is the the Reason for the Season! How Would You Represent Jesus on His birthday?
Dr. Tope Ade, D. Min., M.Div., Liberation Call Christian Ministries, P. O. Box 5641 Frisco, Texas 75035