Two thousand years ago in a stable in Bethlehem a woman named Mary gave birth to a baby boy and named him Jesus. A star shined brightly over the stable leading the way for the travelers who came bringing gifts for the baby, the Savior, the Christ Child whose birth they had been told about by the angels. Two thousand years later we still celebrate His birth.
December 25, 1980 at Saint Ann's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio I gave birth to a baby girl and named her Megan Elizabeth. I was warm and well cared for. There was a room for me in the hospital and one for Megan. Megan's birth had been planned for, prepared for and was waited on with joyful anticipation. It was also celebrated by visitors bringing gifts. As it nears Christmas day we prepare to celebrate her thirtieth birthday.
Allow me to tell you about our trip to the hospital that night and the subsequent question we have been asked numerous times since her birth. Christmas Eve, 1980, was cold and snowy. The temperature was in the teens as we headed across town to the hospital. The sky was brilliant and filled with beautiful stars and I could not help but to reflect on Mary and the birth of the Christ Child that night so many years before. Snow flakes dropped silently and the radio played softly as we listened to Christmas carols. We arrived safely at the hospital and as we prepared to get out of the car I was aware that the carol that was playing was Silent Night. What did you hear Mary on that special night?
The Nuns greeted us and we were settled in the Lamaze room. My every need was taken care of. Were your needs cared for Mary? Were you comfortable and warm? The night stretched on and labor progressed until it became evident it was time for the doctor to be called. Dr. Cliff Raymond told us he raced across town almost spinning out on the freeway getting to the hospital in time to deliver our Christmas baby. Megan Elizabeth was born at 6:40 AM Christmas morning. She weighed 8 pounds 1 1/2 ounces and was 20 inches long. The nurses wrapped her up in warm blankets and took her off to the newborn nursery to be bathed and checked thoroughly. When she was brought into my room she was tucked inside a big red Christmas stocking!
He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and layed in the manger.
I can't imagine a more perfect day to give birth than a day where people all over the world are celebrating Jesus' birth, love abounds and joy fills the air yet Megan and I continue to be asked if she feels cheated sharing her birthday with Christmas. Erma Bomback wrote a beautiful piece asking the same question. I saw her column shortly after Megan was born and cut it out, had it laminated and saved it for her.
Here it is:
2-for-1 HOLIDAY OFFER: CHRISTMAS BIRTHDAYS
Happy Birthday, Jesus - and Aunt Martha and my cousin Dede, and everyone else that was born on this day.
The savior excepted, I think I know what the rest of you birthday babies are thinking.
All your gifts are wrapped in Christmas paper - as usual.
Most of the family has already whispered in your ear, "I bought you one BIG gift for both occasions."
Your Christmas cards have a P.S. on them: "Happy Birthday."
Your favorite cake is chocolate but you will get a white one with white icing, trimmed in red.
If you hear one more person say, "What a bummer to be born on Christmas," you'll slap him.
There are never any balloons on this day, only reindeer and pointsettias.
You are rarely surrounded by your friends at a party because they are at home celebrating Christmas.
My gift to you is a birthday column that is for people born on this day.
Why do you suppose you were chosen to share the most celebrated birthday in the history of Christianity?
There are 364 other days to choose from, but you were chosen to enter the world on a day when peace and joy reign. It's the best time to enter a world. Truces are sometimes called during wars - old prejudices and hatreds are put aside - and people who have never done so before reach out to one another.
No one could plan a bigger celebration of your birth. The streets are lined with Christmas greenery. Houses glow in the light of a million candles, and the anticipation of the day is almost more than a child can stand.
Whenever I hear of a person born on Christmas, he becomes special to me. Babies are always gifts, but to have an infant placed in your arms on this anniversary cannot help but invite memories of Mary holding her newborn for the first time with no less wonderment.
I think Christmas babies feel it too. Their birthday culminates in a season of magic. There has been no Bozo the clown doing magic tricks, no catered party complete with noisemakers, no planes in the sky spelling out their names in smoke. It is a day when the world turns kind.
I share a birthday in February with Rue McClanahan and Tyne Daly. It doesn't get a whole lot of attention...but then Silent Night, Holy Night is not our birthday song.
Happy Birthday Megan! You were and will always be the most perfect Christmas gift. My wish for you is that you always know the love and joy that fills the world as people everywhere celebrate the other special birthday that day!
Are you cheated if your birthday is Christmas?