By Colin Hurley
A Birthday Rebirth
It took me about 28 years to understand how special a birthday truly is. I’ve always been curious about the meaning behind any celebration (and, honestly, during the days of childhood, birthdays seemed to be all about the cake and opening presents with family members!). To the boy who questioned “why we celebrate birthdays,” an answer was delivered:Nearly a year ago, Nolin came into this world through the love shared by his mother, Bethany, and I. Hours after his arrival, while his mommy was napping peacefully, I gazed deeply at this vulnerable and precious life in the palm of my hands. I couldn’t help but feel a strong connection to the Creator and the Giver of all life. Just as Christ came as a living and breathing human form through the process of birth, so too had my son shared that one-of-a-kind experience. And in that moment of connection, I realized that it was probably the closest I’d ever been to seeing the face of Jesus, like it was a taste of Heaven. How often do we get a chance to stop and realize that birth’s miracle allows us to look at the innocence of a child and realize that God is near and in each one of us? In witnessing those first moments of life, the image of God as Love seemed so much purer and clearer, and it was absolutely beautiful and worthy of honoring and celebrating with family and friends.
During this Advent season, with our focus on Emmanuel, God with us, I will be thinking of Christ’s birthday through the intimate experience of holding my own newborn son just one year ago. May we all experience a “birthday rebirth” in our way, honoring Christ while we celebrate His birthday with others.
Colin Hurley has been the director of service learning at Mercyhurst since 2009. He looks forward to the simple joys of the 2012 Christmas season (especially watching Nolin play with the boxes and wrapping paper and not necessarily the toys or clothes!).