Happy Birthday, J!

Ever come up to your friend or family member, close to their birthday, and ask them what they would really like for their birthday (simply because you don’t want to end up buying something they wouldn’t really use)? You go ahead to inquire their desires, and all of a sudden, they are struck with a sudden case of meekness, telling you “Oh, nothing … whatever you choose is fine”.

All year long, they had no trouble pointing at gadgets they fancied, or hinting at concerts/programs they wanted to attend, and just because you forgot to take note and are forced to ask them, they suddenly become a potential nominee for a Golden Globe Award, as they flawlessly act as if they really want nothing for their birthday (oh, except your presence, of course), giving you no lifeline what so ever.

Story of my life.

Well, earlier this month during my quiet time, I asked J (aka Jesus) what he wanted for His birthday this year. And thinking He isn’t one to make me cajole Him into spitting out what he would really like, unlike some people, I thought I’d get an answer immediately. But I didn’t hear from Him for a while. I prayed and prayed y’all, and last week, he finally answered my prayers. I guess He was taking His time in putting together his response. And what a response too!

J would want nothing more but for us to give others the permission to completely be themselves; invest in people around you by showing them unconditional love. In whatever shape, size, and form, help create an environment where people can comfortably express who they are, and freely exhibit their strengths and weaknesses, combined. Usually during the Christmas time, everyone gathers together for about a week or so, and it is so easy to get irritated by Cousin Bobby’s tantrums, or Sister Sue’s ramblings, or maybe Uncle Joe’s eating habits. All of a sudden, people are dreaming of the day they get to wave goodbye to their families from the airport gate, failing to realize that Jesus was born for all of us, including these same set of people.

Here’s how I see it: celebrating Jesus’s birth is a celebration of the salvation He brings. Salvation comes with the freedom to be all that we were created to be. Fostering an attitude of love, especially this season, breeds the groundwork for unique talents and personalities to bloom; talents and personalities that this world badly needs, hence, its existence in the very ones you love and care about.

Secondly and most importantly on J’s wishlist: give yourself the permission to be you. This is a very hard gift to give, especially if you are like me, who is harsher on myself than I am on anyone else. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Quite frankly, you are not Jesus nor will you ever be as perfect as Him, so do yourself a favor and cut yourself some slack. Self-improvement takes time and you will get there. Remember that the destination is only worth it when the trip is memorable and interesting.

So this holiday, let go of the diet, roll on the floor with laughter when the moment comes, and let yourself and the people around you ‘just live’. At the end of the day, Jesus not only gets his birthday wish, but you will be getting a gift too.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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