Friday, December 24, 2010

December Birthdays

At the beginning of this month we celebrated Dan's 46th birthday. Its an age I've only ever attributed to his older brothers so it seems really odd that it applies to him this year. He's closer to 50 than 40 now and for whatever reason that makes me feel like we lost a decade somewhere when we weren't paying attention.

This past weekend we celebrated Caitlin's 14th birthday, along with Jaden Tabak's 9th birthday. I remember as if it were yesterday when my friend Beth told me she was pregnant again with him.

I still haven't gotten used to the fact that Caitlin is a teenager and now she's hit a whole new teenage number. She still doesn't act like one though, so no complaints here.

I've been reminiscing about birthdays past with Cait - how she could never come up with enough ideas for presents for both her birthday and Christmas for all those who wanted to buy for her. She still can't. And how since she was two years old if someone gave her a book she would stop opening any other presents to read it. She still does that.

We went downtown on her actual birthday to the Art Institute (her choice, but I was elated by it) and then to Marshall Fields (I refuse to call it anything else) to see the Walnut Room and then on to Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza where we ordered real Bavarian pretzels. It was cold and crowded and we did a lot of walking, but the kids were great and we had a lot of fun. When we got home Cait told me she felt badly about all that she had gotten when there were so many other people with so little. There were quite a few homeless people out in the city that night and I'm sure their images stuck with her.

It got me thinking about the next birthday we're celebrating. We've had an advent calendar on the wall of the nativity and each day we read a little about the character we're about to hang up in the manger scene and talk about shepherds, wisemen and angels. I've explained how many of them had been long anticipating the coming of the promised Messiah while others just saw a star in the sky and somehow knew they had to follow it.

The young woman Mary, who had just given birth to the Son of God in a stable was probably no older than Caitlin is now.

I understand how Caitlin felt the night of her birthday. I have often wondered why God has saved me and given me so much when so many other people still don't know Him. When I consider that Jesus left heaven and all its glory to come to earth and take on human flesh knowing that He would ultimately die on a cross to pay the debt for my sins and reconcile me to His Father, I am stunned. The manger is just the beginning of the story.

It's good to remember on His birthday that He's both the Gift and the Gift Giver. It's better to remember it all year.