Hello dear friend! Well, as you know, it’s time for my birthday again. Last year, they had a real big party for me and it seems like they will do it again this year. After all, they’ve been shopping and preparing for it for months now, and there have been announcements and advertisements almost every day about how soon it’s coming! They really do go overboard about it, but it’s nice to know that at least on one day of the year, some people are thinking about me a little.
You know, it’s been many years now since they first started celebrating my birthday. Back then, they seemed to realize and appreciate how much fun it is for the little children. Just the same, it seems that most folks are missing the point of it all.
Like last year, for example:
When my birthday came around, they threw a big party, but can you believe it? I wasn’t even invited! Imagine!
The guest of honor, and they forgot all about me! Here, they had begun preparing for the festivities two months in advance, but when the big day came, I was left out in the cold! Well, it happened so many times in recent years, I wasn’t even surprised. Even though I wasn’t invited, I thought I’d just quietly slip in anyway. So, I came in and stood off to the side.
Everyone was drinking, laughing, and having a grand time, when all of a sudden, in came this fat fellow in a bright red suit, wearing a phony white beard and shouting, “Ho Ho Ho!” He looked like he had more than enough to drink, but he somehow managed to weave his way around the floor while everyone cheered. When he collapsed into a big armchair, all the little children went running over to him excitedly yelling, “Santa! Santa!” I mean, you’d have thought he was the guest of honor and the whole holiday was in his honor!
Then he began telling them the most ridiculous stories you’ve ever heard! That he lived at the North Pole with a crew of dwarfs and that every year on my birthday he rides in his sleigh pulled by a bunch of flying reindeer, delivering presents to children all over the world! I mean there wasn’t a word of truth in anything he said! Imagine telling such poor, little, impressionable kids such far-fetched fables!
Finally, I just had to leave. I walked out of the door, and it was hardly surprising that no one even noticed that I had gone. As I walked down the street afterward, I felt about as lonely and forlorn as a stray dog! I could hardly remember the last time I’d felt that low. Maybe you don’t think I cry … That little manger you had put up in the corner of your living room was really touching! It’s sweet of people to commemorate my birthday like that.
But, did you know that nowadays, in some countries, the authorities won’t even allow manger scenes to be placed in the parks, streets, or public places anymore! Not to mention their schools! And I’m not talking about Communist countries! I’m talking about the USA. Imagine! What could be more innocent than a manger scene to remind people of my birthday? And, yet they ban it!
They’ve actually passed laws against it and made it illegal! What’s this world coming to?
Another thing that amazes me is how, on my birthday, instead of giving me presents, most people give gifts to each other! And, to top it all off, it’s usually all kinds of stuff they don’t even need! Let me ask you, wouldn’t you find it odd, if, when your birthday came along, all your friends decided to celebrate it by giving each other presents and never gave you a thing?
Someone once told me, “Well, it’s because you’re not around like other people are, so how can we give you a present?” You know my answer to that one: Then give gifts of food and clothing to the poor, help those who need it. Go visit the lonely! I said, “Listen, any gift you give to your needy fellowmen, I’ll count as if you gave it to me personally!” (See Matthew 25:34-40)
Well, sad to say, things are getting worse each year. You can just imagine my shock a few years ago when I began seeing them taking my name out of my birthday greeting, and replacing it with an X. What an insult! Think of it! Xmas! What if I wrote you a birthday card and said, “Happy Birthday X!” You’d probably never talk to me again!
It reminds me of what happened recently to a friend of mine, a sweet elderly fellow. He’s from the poorer side of town, and he’s been trying unsuccessfully for years to join the church. But, it was a very exclusive church for the proper kind of folks, and they just did not think he was good enough to be a member. I found him one day sitting by the church steps with his head on his hands bowed, and I asked him what was wrong. He told me about it. I put my arm around his shoulder and told him I knew just how he felt. I’ve been wanting to enter that same church for twenty years and they’ve never let me in either!
Well, there’s an end even to my patience. So, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Now this is something I’ve been planning on doing for quite some time, but the way things are going, I think I’m planning of holding my own party! How about that? It’s going to be the biggest, most fantastic feast you could possibly imagine! It might not happen this year. But I’m sending out the invitations now anyway, because I know you’ll want to come. Some really famous old timers and celebrities are going to be there, and I’ll reserve your seat of honor right with them! (Mat. 8:11)
So, hold onto your hat, because when everything is ready, I’m going to spring it as a big surprise! And a lot of people are going to be left out in the cold because they didn’t answer my invitation. Let me know right away if you’d like to come, and I’ll reserve you a place and write your name in large golden letters in my great big Guest Book!