Birthday parties for family members are most often special events—the candles, the cake, the presents, and then the pictures. Years later we trot out the pictures to remember the young face that has changed.
Sometimes we skip birthdays unless they mark another decade of life: 70, 80, 100 might be special birthdays to celebrate.
What about 2020? Yes, I want to pause and celebrate the birth of my Brother Jesus. We might celebrate a couple of years different from what the calendar says. Some suggest that he was born in 4 B.C.
But the date doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he was born. He entered the world like all of us, even if his conception was a miracle and the circumstances remarkable. Flesh and blood, born of the virgin Mary—we confess and repeat the story of his birth each year. For these 2020-plus years, we still mark the event.
On this special birthday of our Brother, give thanks that Jesus was born and adopted us as his family.
It was a special event. We announce and celebrate the birth of our children. I think I sent out cards through the mail. Now it’s just an e-mail or a text with a picture attached. God made a point of introducing his Son with some memorable fanfare. The Father sent angels to deliver the birth announcement. They sang to the shepherds in a little, forgotten town called Bethlehem. They were a light so bright in the night it frightened those shepherds at first.
The announcement was stunningly simple and astonishingly profound: “To us a child is born.” And what a child: A Savior who is Christ the Lord! Not just a flesh-and-blood baby, but also “the Lord” and a Savior. No wonder we still celebrate his birthday. He is special and deserves our attention.
Over the centuries his family has grown. He is my Brother and yours too. We are all part of his family. So are millions of others. He adopted us. When he had grown to be a man and taught the people in Galilee, he said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:21).
What a Brother we have. He has done what we could not do. He removed the barrier that prevented us from being his brothers and sisters. He shed his blood for us and cleansed us of all sins so we could be his family, sons and daughters of his Father. As his family, though we will be buried at our life’s end, our Brother will not forget us. Our graves will be as empty as his was. We are heirs, with eternal life as our inheritance.
And there’s more. As our big Brother, he watches out for us, helping us cope with difficulties and challenges and even giving us comfort and courage in the words he has left behind. He listens to our worries, cares for us, and guides all things for the good of his brothers and sisters, “those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
On this special birthday of our Brother, give thanks that Jesus was born and adopted us as his family. He is flesh and blood and knows what it means to be here. He suffered life’s challenges, even persecution and death. Talk to him. Trust him. The New Testament calls us his brothers and sisters. Treat other believers as brothers and sisters of Jesus.
Do you have a present for him? A cake? Not too many candles! A song? A quiet thank you? A blessed hope because of him. Perhaps all of these things.
Author: John A. Braun
Volume 107, Number 12
Issue: December 2020