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That Birthday Face
By Trish Thompson

I remember when my boys were small, we never could afford to have fancy parties on their birthdays, so instead we made that the one special day of the year for each of them to pick whatever they wanted to have for dinner that night ... they could choose their favorite foods, and for that one night all the rules of nutrition were suspended in honor of the milestone they each had achieved.

No one else in the family was allowed to complain about the choices. They were to eat that birthday dinner as though it was the best one they'd ever had. The boys were so excited about that, and would spend days before their birthday planning that meal; full of the things they loved, all together in one memorable meal.

One meal I've never forgotten, mostly because of the looks on everyone else's face when their plate was placed before them ... was creamed corn, carrots, and orange jello. Everyone valiantly put on a pleasant face when confronted with this strange meal, but the look on the face of that birthday boy glowed he'd received a meal fit for a king!

I think of our wedding day when I remember these birthdays long ago ... not for the occasion or the food ... but for the feeling I could see, that glow of "I'm special, I am loved" that shone from my little boy's face ... the happiness, the joy that was all his own that day.

That is the joy and love I felt, the wonder and the glow as I came down the aisle that lovely June day when I married Lucian. "I am special, I am loved" that was how he always made me feel, each day since we first met. Oh but on this day it was doubled, then doubled again ... I thought I'd burst with the sheer joy of this love!

I think back and I know that this lesson came from Him, the One who gave us love and showed us what it really, truly means. The joy in the birthday or the wedding doesn't come from things those don't last. They're soon used up and gone. But the gifts of love and time, the most precious gifts of all, cannot be bought or taken ... they have to be freely given ... and most of all they have to be received.

Each day I have that "birthday face", the one I remember so well, for the indescribable joy my dear husband brings; the love he gifts me with, matches the love I give to him in return.

Trish is a new writer who, at the urging of her much-loved husband, has begun sharing her love of Christ through her stories. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance web designer who is having the time of her life!
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