I’m thankful for the fact that December was always the month for birthdays in my family. My uncle’s birthday was on 19th December, my mother’s on 23rd December and my father’s on 24th December. I grew up celebrating birthdays in December and the fact that we have chosen to celebrate Jesus’s birthday on 25th December was another reason to be grateful!
I don’t like the cold, so many of the reasons other cite for liking this season (snow, frost, cold weather) tended to pass me by. Nonetheless, this plethora of birthdays always put me in a good mood, and when my first grandchild was born on Christmas Eve too, that was a family tradition I was glad was continuing! It’s such fun to share her excitement at this time of year.
Having something to celebrate in the middle of winter, when darkness seems to proliferate, always seems a really good idea to me. We don’t know for sure when Jesus was actually born (and carols such as ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ are definitely more connected to English lyricism than Biblical fact!), but the fact that He was born is definitely something to celebrate. Luke’s gospel was written as an orderly account ‘so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ (Luke 1:4) We can be thankful because we are celebrating something that really happened, an event that, in the words of Ralph Stockman, shows us ‘the hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable.’