Whose Birthday is it Anyway?
By Randy Foncree
Once upon a time there was a man who lived, with his son, in a remote village in the Middle East. The manís name was Eli, and his sonís name was Joshua.
Eli was very prominent and well liked by most people. He owned practically everything in the village, and yet he had a very generous spirit. His son did well in school and, to his peers, exhibited many of the same characteristics as his father.
For Joshuaís thirteenth birthday, the whole town decided to get together and throw him a big party. They planned to honor both him and his father, Eli, for the kindness and generosity they had shown to the townspeople. Just a year before, the town had been on the verge of financial ruin. Then, right before they were about to lose everything to their creditors, Eli had paid the full price of the townís debt.
The night came for the big party, and the townís community center was decked with ornaments, bows, ribbons and garlands.
Most of the townspeople were already inside enjoying the festivities when Eli and his son arrived at the center Ė but something strange seemed to be looming about the whole scenario. The first thing they noticed was that very few of the townspeople welcomed them to the celebration. Only one elderly couple greeted them as they rode up in their horse-drawn carriage.
"Whatís going on?" Joshua asked his father.
"I donít know," Eli replied. "I guess weíll find out when we get inside."
They entered the hall where, to their surprise, almost everyone in the room ignored them Ė all, that is, except two or three of the townspeople who acknowledged their presence.
Eli and his son saw several people gathered around ornately decorated trees, singing songs and paying no attention to their presence. They listened a little closer and heard that some were singing a song about Joshua Ė about the day he was born and what a joyous occasion his birthday was. Then they sang about how generous his father had been to pay all the townís debts.
Instead of experiencing joy at the scene, Eli and his son was aghast.
"I thought this was a party for my son," Eli said sadly to himself.
Then to make matters worse, they saw a man in the center of the hall with many of the children gathered around him Ė all pining for the gifts the man was giving out. Some would even sit on his lap in order to receive a gift.
"Who is that, Father?" Joshua asked.
"I donít know, Son, but the kids seem to be enjoying themselves," Eli replied.
"Where are the gifts that they were supposed to be giving me?" the teenager asked.
"Again, Son, I donít know. I believe theyíve forgotten whose birthday it really is."
"I want to leave," Joshua said to his father. "I donít feel very welcome here."
"Well Son," Eli responded, "if they donít welcome you, then Iím not welcome either. Letís go!"
After they left, some of the townspeople asked, "Where are Eli and his son?"
"I donít think they were ever here," someone replied. "What a shame! You have a party for someone and they donít even show up!"
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Authorís Note: The truths in this story were given to me on Christmas Day, 2002 Ė the day I was delivered from mental and emotional oppression. It was the day God showed me that Jesus Christ is truly the greatest gift to the world.
© Copyright 2005 by Psallo Praise Ministries, all rights reserved
Randy Foncree is a Christian author who has been writing consistently for three years. This piece, "Whose Birthday is it Anyhow" was given to him on Christmas Day of 2002, the day he was forever set free from emotional and mental bondage. Randy sees the real need for the church to shift the focus of Christmas back to its true meaning. As he puts it, "Family and presents are great, but letís not forget whose birthday we are really celebrating." You may write to Randy care of the Letters page of this magazine.