A bitter-sweet milestone in my vocation of mommy was reached this past week. My baby turned 10; thus, I celebrated our last kiddie birthday party. No more mailed invitations, goody bags, games, and prizes. After more than 24 years, I will not have any more birthday parties to plan. I was excited and melancholy at the same time.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. We will still commemorate the day each member of our family was born. On that day, the honoree chooses their birthday dinner and dessert, “Happy Birthday” is sung, and gifts are opened. With 11 members in my family, it still seems like a party.
Honoring the day of one’s birth is important. Birthdays are celebrations of each person’s uniqueness. Though all of us are wonderfully made in the image and likeness of God, each person shines forth different aspects and attributes of God.
Yesterday was Our Lady’s birthday. Full of grace from the moment of her conception, she perfectly shines forth the image and likeness of God. Jesus, her Son and the Second Person of the Trinity, was, therefore, conceived by the Holy Spirit in her likeness. How appropriate, then, is it that we should honor the nativity of Mary, Mother of God.
I was blessed with the opportunity to review the book My Queen, My Mother by Marge Steinhage Fenelon. I was invited along for an “armchair pilgrimage” as the author visited Marian shrines across America. (You can join us starting October 5 for the Book Club!) It got both of us thinking of Mary’s many titles and apparitions. How do we reconcile the many different “faces” of our Lady? Mrs. Fenelon answers: “Our Lord Jesus desired that we honor her and appreciate all her different gifts and attributes” (23-24). In Mary, we get many glimpses of the love and concern God has for each and every one of us. So, by honoring Mary’s birthday, we are honoring God’s goodness.
By celebrating my children’s birthdays, I celebrate God’s many gifts to me. I remember not just the day they were born, but the generosity of God and many of His other qualities. One child imitates the joyfulness of God, another His strength. One daughter reflects the quiet presence of God, another His sense of humor. At some time or another, they all have reminded me of God’s persistence and determination! In each child, I see not just a unique human being, but also the Face of God. So, on the day God brought them safely into this world, I will praise Him and glory in the irreplaceable gift each child is.
How do you celebrate birthdays? Is there a cut-off year in your house? Does your family do anything special to celebrate Our Lady’s birthday?
Copyright 2019 Kelly Guest