I am blessed with two great physical brothers, both of whom I admire. We journeyed through the "suburbs of hell" with our mother during a decade of declining health that stole our father from all of us when we were way too young. Today is the middle Ware brother's birthday. His name is Byron. We won't reveal how many birthdays he's had, but let's say he ain't no spring chicken anymore, even though he is a ranked sprinter in masters track and field.

Byron and I were secretly envious of Gordon, our younger brother, because he had a summer birthday. Byron and I were both born in late December and our birthdays always seemed to get merged with Christmas. Being normal kids, we thought we got kinda robbed with the whole gift-giving birthday-Christmas merger. Gordon got to have swimming parties and cool gifts in the summer. We were stuck with Christmas birthdays when our friends were all at their grandmas' houses for the holidays, the weather was cold and yucky, and we were at our grandma's house away from our friends.

Now that we are grown up, I would like to think we are over such childish thinking. (I'm not sure our wives would agree that we "are all grown up" or that have put away the childish thinking.) But that's not really the point. You see, I'm thankful this Christmas that all three of us were born ... that we have shared the same family ... that we each reflect our dad in a little different way so that we could remember him a little more clearly over these 24 Christmases without him ... and that we have a shared faith we are trying to pass on to our children. Most importantly, I'm thankful that even though most people would count me the oldest brother in Warehouse, I'm really not the oldest. You see, my brothers and I share one other strong conviction — the Lord Jesus is our older brother.* Our older brother is also our Savior. He is the King of Glory. He is the Lord of lords. He is the assurance that our relationships are eternal and our futures are certain. One day we will be like him and all birthdays reckoned on human years will melt away into insignificance.

So as Christmas approaches, I have many reasons to give thanks and find joy. But today, on my brother Byron's birthday, I give thanks for the birth of my earthly brothers and I anticipate the designated birthday** of my spiritual older brother, Jesus. His birthday makes all the other birthdays in our family meaningful, joyous, and eternal.

Now that I'm older, I've come to see December as a time of joy, hope, and for birthdays. So Happy Birthday Bro!

His birthday makes all the other birthdays meaningful.

* Some have objected to this terminology of Jesus being called our older brother. However, not only is this acceptable terminology, it is the terminology Jesus taught us to use (Remember how he taught us to pray, "Our Father ..."), an identity Jesus claimed for us (Mark 3:33-35), and why he came (Hebrews 2:14-18).
** Most people realize that December 25 is highly unlikely as the true historical birthday of Jesus. However, the world at least remembers, celebrates, and pays attention to his birth on this day. So do many of us who believe in him.