Finding out our baby was due on Christmas Day thrilled me beyond measure, but being due to have a baby on Christmas Day and actually having a baby on Christmas Day are two different things, and I couldn’t help but think, “Really, who has a Baby on Christmas? Certainly, I couldn’t be lucky enough!”
However, Christmas morning rolled around, and it became obvious that this would in fact be the big day. The cramps came closer together; the pain became more intense, and I knew we had to go.
(The above is an excerpt from part 1. To read the rest, please click here).
At the hospital, we were greeted by a Jewish doctor wearing antlers and a Rudolf nose. Even if he hadn’t quite grasped the meaning of Christmas, he couldn’t deny the Joy the season brings as he happily delivered our son into my arms. Our little one was placed in his bassinet, the name we had chosen months ago written on a tag beside the bright red Christmas stocking the nursing staff had hung above his sleeping head.
Later, I’d think more about the name for our Christmas baby. We had chosen Grace Noelle had he been a she, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me until later that perhaps we should have named this baby boy Christopher or Nick or something Christmassy too.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent almost four years of my life pregnant and I’ve gotten used to people critiquing baby names. Maybe it’s that I’ve learned to accept those name choice critics as part of parenthood, or maybe it’s that, now that my little one is five, the memory is so distant that I don’t remember, but whatever the reason, the criticism of his name didn’t bother me as much as things people said about his birth date. People would, at first, light up upon hearing he had been born on Christmas Day.
“A Christmas Baby!“ they’d always exclaim, then quickly look crestfallen. “Poor kid,” they’d say, “he must get so cheated!”
Somehow, the specialness of being born on Christmas Day had been replaced by the realization that he’d have only one celebration a year, and I began to wonder if I’d been selfish to be so excited about having a baby on this wonderful day.
There were years all his friends were away for Christmas, and he didn’t get the party I’d hoped to throw, and there have been many times he received birthday gifts in Christmas wrapping paper or received one gift meant for two celebrations, but there were good things too
Some of his best “birthday” celebrations weren’t on his birthday at all. We had modified half birthdays, and my mom had the great idea of taking him out to dinner on the 25th of some month, kind of like a surprise party. Those ideas were great, I still feared that this little one’s day would always be overshadowed by Christmas.
Most children are #1 on their birthdays.
My Christmas Baby would always be #2 on his special day.
I had to be sure he didn’t miss out.
Christmas morning begins in one of the boys’ rooms with a Bible reading of the birth of Jesus. Then my Christmas Baby opens the first gift, his birthday gift, while his brothers are impatiently trying to be patient and wanting desperately to see if Santa has come. Only when my Christmas Baby is ready do we follow the glow of the tree Santa has decorated and begin to open Christmas presents.
My efforts to make him feel special sometimes extend to our Christmas decor. Some years, our living room has skipped the traditional green and red in favor of green and gold for the Green Bay Packers or maybe it’s an alien invasion Christmas where Star Wars and aliens play a prevalent role in the scheme. I’ve even made him a, “Christmas tree birfday cake that is really an alien spaceship disguised as a Christmas tree so no one knows it’s really a cake!”
But despite my best efforts, I still often wondered if my Christmas Baby was begin cheated by having been born on this day.
Inevitably, at random times of the year, people would exclaim,
“Oooh a CHRISTMAS BABY!”
and instead of watching for their crestfallen face as they realized it would mean fewer presents, I watched my son’s face for signs that he may be crestfallen too. Instead, I often saw something else.
The Christmas Baby exclamation would cause my little one to put his chubby, dimpled little fists on his sweet, little hips and pucker his scowling, if-looks-could-kill, little brow. Sometimes he’d mutter under his breath. Other times he was not nearly so subtle, but either way, to me his words were always clear and made me hold back laughter,
“I am not a Christmas Baby!
I am a Christmas Big Boy!”
Being a Christmas child was not bad for him.
It was just very much part of who he was.
I began worrying less about him being cheated in the ways most people meant. The secular celebration of Christmas has become such a part of our lives, and things like Green Bay Packer decorations and alien invasions, first gifts and surprise dinners out have become so expected at our Christmas celebrations that I began wondering instead if my Christmas Baby was in fact getting cheated, not because of the doubling up of gifts or the lack of birthday wrapping paper, but because, in all the compensating, he might lose the realization that this special day was also Jesus’ special day.
I now worried that he would be cheated,
not for want of more cheap toys,
but for want of the gift of Our Savior.
I shouldn’t have worried. God doesn’t run competitions between His children, especially between His Son, Jesus Christ, and those He has given to us. He knows it would be an unfair contest no matter how great my children are. My Christmas Baby didn’t have to be 2nd in the way I was afraid he’d be 2nd. He was 2nd in the way we are all 2nd to Christ – and that’s okay – even on your birthday! No compensating necessary!
My Christmas Baby was going to be all right, and I knew he got the gift of Christmas when he said to me one day, very matter of factly,
Mom don’t worry. Everyone shares a birthday with someone.
I’m just lucky that I share mine with Jesus.
He is smarter than I am some days.
Now, years later, I am happy to say, I am continuously thrilled to have that Christmas Baby, and when people still sometimes pity him for being born on this special day, I just smile. I no longer worry about him feeling cheated.
In fact, sometimes I wonder if those bemoaning his birth on this day are being cheated instead. Do they not know what an honor it is to share this day? Do they not know that the real presence of our Savior is so much more valuable than any credit card purchase?
I can wonder about them, or I can pray for them, and then I can leave it all to God. I know that God has great plans for all his children – whatever day they were born upon!
(Just in case your birthday falls on Christmas too, and notice, no Christmas colors in that message!)