I am in full-on birthday planning mode. This is not a task I take lightly–I have already written about how birthdays are very special in our home. The first birthday in particular is significant in any culture, but especially the Korean culture. So, I have been thinking about the importance of all of these traditions–the cake, the gifts, the decorations…and I have been asking myself, how can these traditions serve to honor and glorify God?
I just finished reading Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper. I was both disappointed and inspired by the book. Based solely on the title, I was expecting actual ideas and creative hints for how to honor God during the holidays, and there actually was not a whole lot of that. Instead, there was two sections–one on how to honor God in our everyday life, and another on how to honor Him during special celebratory events.
I was encouraged to commit to being deliberate and intentional with the everyday practice of being in the word, praising, worshiping, praying, and serving together as a family. I was also reminded that what we celebrate reflects what is important to us, and in a Christian home this should be Jesus–He is the anchor of our daily life and special occasions. (She also had an incredibly compelling section on why she does not incorporate Santa into her families Christmas celebration, and I could not agree with her more. Most people are aghast when I say we ‘do not play Santa’ in our home. apparently I have a kindred spirit in Mrs. Pipper–right on sister! But I digress…)
So while reflecting on all of this I set out to make one of the focal point decorations for Harper’s birthday, a blessing tree. According to Korean custom, a ‘wishing tree’ is set out at a special occasion and decorated with paper tags of some kind for people to write wishes on for whomever is being celebrated. These ‘wishing trees’ have become popular at Korean first birthdays, or Dols. I am sure there is much background info on where this tradition originated and what exactly is signifies, but I was not really interested in that. Rather I thought, how can I use this in a way that honors God. I thought the trees themselves were beautiful and really wanted to make one. So, I crafted what I am calling the ‘blessing tree’ where guests will be encouraged to write a special blessing for Harper. I thin the term bless points to God, whereas wish really does not. Makayla helped me to put it together while Harper slept, and we are really happy with the outcome.
In honoring little Harper, it is essential that we honor and acknowledge Harper’s Maker, the one who knit her together and knew exactly who she was when we could only imagine. I will close with the verse that I will surely be contemplating on Harper’s birthday;
“Every good gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17