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‘Ain’t none of yo’ birthday’ |

‘Ain’t none of yo’ birthday’

Aint none of yo birthday. Ive heard these words much of my life, spoken repeatedly by Aunt Alma. Translation of a Southern aunts dialect: Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, not you! Even as she made Christmas as special as possible for those around her, she made sure everyone, my siblings and I, in particular, knew the reason for the season.

As this holy holiday is just a few days away, her words merit remembering. We love spending time with family on Christmas, but thats really not its meaning. We love the festive decorations that set it apart from other special days, but thats not what Christmas is about, either. And most of us enjoy the expressions of delight when we give a cherished gift; theres joy in that. But the meaning of Christmas rests not in any of these moments. These traditions are wonderful, but they dont define Christmas.

Christmas would still be Christmas if we spent it without family albeit it wouldnt be as fun. (Well, I guess that depends on your family! LOL!) It would be Christmas without a single tree adorned with lights. It would be Christmas without one present handed to one person. Christmas needs no pomp and circumstance, in the same way that He Who is the meaning of Christmas entered the world devoid of pomp and circumstance born to Mary in a manger.

We have added traditions, and thats wonderful; Aunt Alma was not raining on the Christmas parade. My family had our traditions also, but first things first for the Rosses, and the first thing is Jesus. If He is not the center of it all, what does it mean?

In the spirit of Christmas, I do give gifts, and a week ago, I was asked to give the keynote address at an awards ceremony. My topic was to be my grown-up Christmas list. This was not to be a list of electronics we adults find ourselves engaged in or a vacation to a warmer climate. This was to be a list of how I picture the world under the best of circumstances. It was to be my dream of what could and should be.

I submit to you now the six items I shared with them last Tuesday my grown-up Christmas list, which I presented with actual items to give a visual representation of each.

1. Seeds. These represent faith. I wish that each of us would be like the farmer who plants seeds not because of what he sees, but because of what he expects to see. With faith, he works the ground, deposits the seeds, and waters the earth all by faith something good will emerge. Eventually, he reaps a harvest. In the midst of rampant negativity today, we need faith that better is on the horizon.

2. Heart. The heart represents passion. I wish everyone would live a life of passion derived from our purpose. What is it that gets us excited? What makes us want to get up in the morning? May we each discover that, cultivate that, live that.

3. Kitchen accessories. I pulled out the old pot holder and kitchen towel. What do those represent? A servants heart. Some people only expect to be served. They sit and wait and receive. Others roll up their sleeves and get to work, always asking, What can I do to help? or better yet, just seeing a need and meeting it. My grown-up wish is we would serve others, that we would be a blessing to those who need it, to those, perhaps, who never will even know our names, can never thank us, or never will give us credit.

4. A ball and reindeer antlers. At this point of my speech, I put on antlers and threw the ball. We threw it around the conference hall for a while. Why? Because we must have fun at least, thats my wish. We serve, yes, but we also have to take time to laugh and tap into our childish side. Well live longer and be happier.

5. Ring. A ring represents covenant relationships. Iron sharpens iron, the Bible says. What and who are we rubbing against daily? We cannot simply walk alone. I wish we would have people we trust who can also trust us as we sharpen one another.

6. Shovel. The shovel speaks of forgiveness. This may be the most important thing on my wish list. The shovel is for burying the bitterness and hatred some harbor. It doesnt matter whether the person who wronged us deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is not about the other person; forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. We want to be free, so we release. If we are to become our best selves, we must do so. Let this be the gift we give ourselves this Christmas.

Keep in mind Aunt Almas words: Aint none of yo birthday. And in the spirit of the One Whose birthday it is, may we seek to exemplify all He is and have a wish list that mirrors His own one that we, with His help, make a reality.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Adrienne Ross is owner of Adrienne Ross Communications and a former Southeast Missourian editorial board member. Contact her at

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