While I was preparing for a 2nd grade Sunday School lesson in the church classroom on a December evening (ten years ago), the children’s minister casually mentioned that she had a theological problem with birthday parties for Jesus. She said it gives children the idea that Jesus did not exist before He was born as God-in-flesh in Bethlehem.
True, the Son of God, the 2nd person of the Trinity, existed before all creation. He had a distinct personal existence during the Old Testament period as evidenced in Scripture. For Him and through Him the whole work of creation was done.
But at a finite point in time, He assumed humanity and was born as a baby. The pre-existent Christ became man. The Word became flesh (John 1:14). He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:6). He was birthed.
When we celebrate the ‘birthday’ of Jesus, we celebrate the Son of God becoming man in the flesh. Fully God, he also became fully man through the means of the Holy Spirit’s union with Mary. Celebrating the birthday of Jesus is commemorating the day toward which all of history had been moving and pointing before the manger. It is a celebration of the act of God the Son taking upon Himself a human nature, human flesh and breaking into history to be born, to live, to die, and to be resurrected.
A birthday party for Jesus – simple in a child’s eye, but theologically profound.