Like the Beatles sang and rather noisily too—“You say it’s your birthday.” Queue in a really nice electric guitar riff by George Harrison, Ringo on drums, picture John Lennon and Paul McCartney leaning in toward the same microphone, and then belt out along with them, “It’s my birthday too—yeah.”
It’s true. Today is my birthday. If I could, I’d insert a smiley face here. As a bit of a curmudgeon I never bothered much about my birthday. As a December baby there were always so many other things going on and certainly with a different focus. How can one compete with that? I learned long ago that I didn’t want to. As a kid I decided to simply take the Christmas season as the best birthday gift God could ever give me. Growing up in a single-parent family, with little money, my mum and I created a family tradition of decorating the Christmas tree on my birthday and eating Christmas goodies. It made me feel special, especially through those gawky teenage years. You know those times when we don’t feel there’s anything good about us. We feel ugly, stupid, unwanted perhaps. We may even question why on earth God created us. For many of us those debilitating feelings follow us into our later years.
I believe God smiled on my childlike choice to feel special just because I shared the traditional month of Christ’s birth. I think He wants us all to ask—why are we special? What thing in our life—no matter how small—shows that we are unique to God? We all have something. We just need to look. The Lord Jesus encouraged the disciples to bring a young child into their midst one day. It’s often the smallest, most insignificant things that matter to our Lord—the tiniest fibre of motivation in our hearts.
As a mother and now a grandmother, I find that most Decembers my birthday sneaks up on me. The panicked thought arrives on this day, It’s only 5 days to Christmas—Yikes I have so much to do—and oh yeah it’s my birthday.
As of today, there have been 52 Decembers and I look back on my developement as a child of God, and my growing understanding of why the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth. Yet there are many birthdays that I still ponder—what is my purpose, what special thing does God want me to do? Especially these past 9 years as I wondered should I really be spending so much time writing when I could be doing something else, like cleaning the house, like getting a better-paying job, like getting to know my neighbor. But this year the Lord has outdone Himself when it comes to celebrating my birthday with me.
This December I’m still whirling from the fact that He has invited me on an amazing adventure. Admittedly this is a big event in my life. Imagine—at my age—going on my very first overseas missionary trip—and giving me the task of writing the non-fictional story of Pastor Antony Samy and Children’s Camps International. The specialness of it continues to take my breath away. Then there are the extraordinary ways in which He’s been providing—big . . . and seemingly small.
Last week I shared how God had supplied 500 envelopes and thank you cards even before I knew I was going to be a part-time missionary. This week I learned that my support is coming in. I think it’s almost reached the half-way point for the actual trip to Tamil Nadu. Please join me in thanking and praising God for this. Those loving gifts include an extremely generous gift from a church on the eastern coast of the United States—from brothers and sisters in Christ I’ve never even met . . . yet. Balanced on the other end of the scale was a support gift from my 12-year-old niece, Kristen. The five dollars she gave to this missions trip is huge when you think of the cost to her. That too takes my breath away.
These past few Sundays at church as I wend my way through the foyer and halls I am blessed by people who tell me, “we’re praying for you and for what God has asked you to do.”
Some appeared apologetic. “I’m so sorry I can’t give financially . . . I’m already supporting 3 other missionaries, but I will be praying for you.”
I thank them from the bottom of my heart because I know they faithfully will. I know these people—mostly senior citizens living on a pension. When they give, they give out of sacrifice. And I also know how they go out of their way to show kindness to many—the items they create for those who are poor or lonely, the food they make for the hungry. I know the way they reach out in love to everyone they meet. I know these gentle and meek people to be good representations of Christ in their world.
They are people who have discovered the special and unique way that God created them and they are fulfilling their God-given purpose. The prayers of an elderly lady living on a pension or a young unemployed person who cannot give financially may seem a small thing. Yet it is the greatest.
It is the small things that if we look, we can see that God has sent them to make us feel special—to give us a purpose to get up every morning. It is the seemingly small things that we do for God that often matter the most.
Zechariah 4:10 a “Who despises the day of small things? . . .”