One Christmas Eve, 2008 to be exact, my son and his wife stayed overnight with us so we could all be together when our two young grandsons woke up the next morning. We tucked the kids into bed that night after church and proceeded to turn our living room into Santa’s workshop.
I don’t recall exactly what my son and daughter-in-law were building, but I’m pretty sure it was something from that big box store that begins with the letter ‘I.’ There was a wagon to assemble as well, red planks and black wheels piled on the carpet.
Our favorite Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD was playing while we drank eggnog and noshed Christmas cookies and sugared pecans. I was focused on filling up Christmas stockings, and my husband was tasked with rummaging through the party decorations.
“See if you can find the Happy Birthday banner,” I told him.
“Then draw some block letters with J E S U S on them.” After you cut them out, tack them up on the end of the banner; we’ll have a Happy Birthday Jesus! sign.”
I handed him a stack of 3 x 5 colored index cards and he got to work. This project kept him occupied and away from the flotsam and jetsam in the living room. He hates flotsam and jetsam.
A little after midnight the assembly tasks were near completion. It had been a long day and an even longer night. We were giddy from sleeplessness, nearing the twilight zone (you know what I mean), and we still weren’t finished. My husband suddenly exclaimed, “Look! I finished it!”
Tacked up on our dining room wall above the table, this proclamation was proudly displayed, “Happy Birthday Jseus.”
Happy Birthday, Jay Seuss. “Honey, it says, ‘Happy Birthday Jay Seuss.’”
He was bleary eyed and hadn’t even noticed. My son and his wife burst into laughter then tears while we joined them. I’m so thankful I snapped a photo before my husband took it down and reversed the letters.
J E S U S. Happy Birthday, Jesus.
Yes, we know whose birthday it is, but the fact is we get all the presents.
The banner is still put up every year, in fact, Happy Birthday, Jseus has been memorialized in a coffee mug and Christmas craft, among other things. I’ve no doubt some day it will be a t-shirt.
How grateful we are we have the opportunity to give and receive all those presents.
But more grateful, still for the annual, humorous reminder that Jesus was–bless God!–born into this world to walk with us, to bring us His Presence.
Merry Christmas, friends. May you sense God’s presence in the moments in between all the flotsam and jetsam and presents.
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