tuesdays unwrapped

“I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: Thank you for being you. Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished. No, we say: Thank you for being born and being among us.

Henri  Nouwen, Here and Now

birthday cake

My sister-in-law had a birthday this weekend. We all went out to eat together, kids gathered on one end with crayons and cups with lids. After the meal, we went back to her house, piled on couches in their living room, offered her gifts and listened to stories.

We didn’t make a whole day of it or go over the top with decoration. But we did get together. And there was definitely singing.

We do this same type of simple gathering for every birthday in the family, from the littles to the bigs, both on my husband’s side of the family as well as on mine. Every time we sing Happy Birthday, I tear up. I can’t help it. And now, after reading Henri Nouwen, I understand a little more of why.

You are here. You are you. Thank you for being among us.

It’s the second Tuesday in December, and that means we’re unwrapping the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected.

This is your life, where you are right now, the things you hold in your hand. Whether you are in a season of work or rest, celebration or grief, take a moment to see where you are, who you’re with, and what might be worth unwrapping. Will you take a moment and unwrap your moments here with us? Need help linking up? This post should answer your questions.

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  1. says

    I think sometimes the simplest things are the most beautiful. Just the fact that you got together and listened to each other. That can mean more than the most extravagant get-togethers!

    God Bless!

  2. says

    I’ve teared up a lot this season, over small and seemingly little nothings. But my heart is tender right now to all of the gifts around me…like roses still blooming in December, and hugs from Doc…

  3. says

    I love that quote. My little guy just turned four this week. We had a nice week-long celebration of happiness for his existence in our lives. It’s amazing how powerful it is to say: I am so happy that you were born and that you are here. I have two boys and I love to tell them: I am so glad that I am YOUR mom.

  4. Amy McIntire says

    To be able to be at a job that I am at right now. I still ‘process’ daily on learning how to deal with things right that make me a mess and to constantly be thankful for what I DO have, right now. I have seen a bunch of unemployment around me, esp with my husband and some of my close friends.

  5. says

    oh, i like him so much. and you too, sweet friend. i needed to be told these words today, and to remember why what i do is important. no, i’m not in mission fields overseas, but i am celebrating life here, and now. and maybe, just maybe, the Lord would be glorified in the midst, and people would see that celebration, and glorify the Father in heaven. just maybe. xoxo

  6. says

    I needed to read that quote today. Thanks Emily. Just spending time together is a special gift. Family get togethers are even more special when you have spent a half a world away from them for a long time. It is a gift for us to be so close to home right now.

  7. says

    I love that quote! My family teases me because I have a birthday season. And as much as I love celebrating my birthday, I even more love celebrating the birthdays of my friends and family. That quote perfectly explains why; it’s not anything you need to earn, it’s just the fact that you are. I’ve missed Tuesdays Unwrapped. It was one of my first means of connecting with other bloggers when I started blogging 3 years ago. :) Happy Tuesday, Emily.

  8. says

    Your posts always speak to me so deeply, but since today is actually my birthday – I feel like this post was written just for me today! Thank you!!

  9. says

    oh yes, that quote!
    it is exactly how i feel, and maybe never knew. thank you for sharing those words!
    birthdays certainly are to be celebrated!

  10. Beth says

    Thanks so much for this, Emily. Love, love the quote and will be sharing it with my family today. I have three wonderful boys and TODAY is my youngest’s 16th birthday! He shared his birthday with his grandmother who just passed away, very suddenly, six days after Thanksgiving. We are sad to not be celebrating this birthday with her but thankful for so many before and that she is celebrating in a much more wonderful place this year with her Lord.
    Thanks for all that you do to inspire others, Emily!

  11. says

    These are the words I have been trying to find. My daughter has Down Syndrome and cannot get enough of singing and signing in ASL “happy Birthday” I knew in my head what the reason was but couldn’t find the words to say why it touched me so. This post is perfect and makes this mama heart smile.

  12. says

    This makes me want to sing happy birthday to my kids every day – remind them (and me!) that I’m so glad they are here, that they are a gift.

    Add me to the list of people who want to know more about that amazing candle holder.

  13. Teresa says

    i am in a place of waiting. there is peace here, but also tension – an expectation wrapped up in fear. we’ve just spend the last 6 months purging and cleansing our farm, home and hearts of much unnecessary stuff. a fall auction pushed by necessity did not provide the anticipated relief, and so we face a Christmas with our kids home and a strong desire to pretend. celebrating our children and the adventures in their lives away will be a grand distraction and perhaps a significant part of our own spiritual journey. they have supported and lingered and held and hugged us through a trying time – our love goes deeper…
    in a time when roles of strength are switched and our need becomes the catalyst for drawing out the deep places in them.

  14. Nicole says

    Oh, what a wonderful quote! Celebrating my baby girl’s first birthday this weekend, this really struck me, not only for her, but for her brother as well. We are in a phase where I feel like I’m doing a lot of training and discipline. This shows me it’s important to take time to celebrate all the good that he is, and the good that he was created for, not just the little things that need to be corrected. Thank you for this reminder!

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