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Baby Jesus’ Birthday Cake

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Every year for Christmas my family has a few traditions that we follow religiously: my sister and I bake Baby Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas Eve, then we all go to church, and on Christmas morning we open presents, Mom makes migas (a delicious Mexican scrambled egg dish), and then we set to work, still in our pajamas, on Christmas dinner.

This year was a little different. My sister went to spend Christmas morning with her boyfriend and his family, and then they came to spend the afternoon with us. Katie was having such a hard time not spending Christmas morning with us, and we were struggling too, but she has found someone special and we all had to learn to adjust a little bit- it’s part of being a family.

This year, it seemed like Christmas Eve church service was written for us- the lesson was that Christmas isn’t always perfect. It’s not the “Lexus with a bow in the living room” Christmas that the commercials tend to portray, but somehow, it always seems to be ok. The minister made the point that birthing the son of God in a barn in the middle of the night was not quite the ideal situation Mary had pictured, but the baby came anyway and all was alright.

Even though Katie couldn’t be with us on Christmas morning, Christmas came anyway, and the world kept turning. She came later in the day and we got to open presents all over again. We made dinner together, sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus in Dutch, and ate a delicious cake made by Katie and me. It turned out to be one of the best Christmases ever- we were together, and that’s all that mattered.

Mom and I were talking about the church service last night and giggling about how much it applied to us. We started talking about the different ways it applies to life in general, particularly cancer. Sometimes life isn’t always ideal; sometimes things happen to us that we don’t plan on. Breast cancer isn’t the ideal thing for anyone to have in their lives, but sometimes it’s uncontrollable. Things happen and life comes anyway. The world keeps turning.

Life isn’t always a Lexus in the living room on Christmas morning, but it can be so wonderful in all of its imperfections. Sometimes we worry too much about making Christmas and other events so perfect that we miss the true beauty in them. Change- be it in family structure or breast health- is always scary. Change is inevitable, but the world will keep spinning, Christmas will come, and the true magic and wonder will be ever-present.