UpBeat Spiritual Living: The Meaning of Birthdays
© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
In many countries and cultures, the “birth days” of individuals are celebrated. Usually on the anniversary of the person’s birth, every year, it is popular to be festive, have a special cake or meal, and perhaps give gifts. In some areas, the “birthday” is celebrated on the anniversary of the person’s conception. In the US, it is popular to have a party, give gifts, and sing “Happy Birthday” to the person whose birth anniversary it is. But some ignore birthdays or believe it’s bad to celebrate them. A Christian Science point of view is that time is an illusion, so if you celebrate birthdays, you are supporting the illusory world, and this should not be done. So what does God think of that?
In the Bible, the time of our conception and the date of our birth are important. For example,Psalm 139:13 offers: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (NIV)” And Psalm 71:6offers: “From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.” (NIV) Further, counting our years and pondering the progress of our life across the years is natural. Proverbs 4:10 offers: “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. (NIV)” And Proverbs 9:11 says: “For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. (NIV)”
So it is good to rely on God and develop your relationship with Him, honor your birth, count your years, and celebrate the number of years you’ve lived. In John 10:10b we are told, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” So we are to rejoice and enjoy life. Sounds like today’s birthday parties!
I like to use birthdays as a re-occurring time to celebrate the individual and their preciousness. Whatever you like or admire about a person, if you haven’t been expressing it yearlong—their birthday is the perfect time to share it. And gift cards are great, but sometimes doing something for the person is even better. With advance permission, update their garden, give them 2 dozen freezer-wrapped homemade muffins, or install that bathroom fixture they’ve been wanting.
If it’s your birthday this time and you’re feeling like you’re “getting old”, consider a little healthy processing. Get out your journal or your laptop and actually write to yourself about these points. Feeling bad about the money you haven’t earned, or how mature your skin looks? Ask yourself where your life was at age 10, 20, or 30, and notice how far you’ve come. What are your accomplishments in developing your relationships with God and with loved ones, in your professional work, and in your family and leisure time? How well do you handle things now, compared to 10, 20, or 30 years ago? What goals would you like to meet, and can you set specific milestones to beat before your next birthday?
In her book, 1001 Real-Life Questions for Women, Author Laura Orsini asks us to ask ourselves a few questions about birthdays—among myriad other life topics. Orsini asks, in Question 529, in which month the most people you know have birthdays. In Question 673, she challenges us to think if we know the birthdays of certain relatives. And delving into our childhood memories, in Question 419, she explores aspects of how we felt about gifts and surprises. If you would like to ponder, puzzle, and consider life questions further, you can find the book and the amazing Ms. Orsini through www.1001rlqfw.com .
Are you hating those larger numbers of each of your birthdays? Certified Retirement/Transition Life Coach Barbara Penn-Atkins has written the book for you: 70 is the New 40: Bonus Years, Here We Come. Penn-Atkins engagingly calls us to new images of aging and to new definitions of success and significance. Find Penn-Atkins and her book at: http://www.sunrisebeginnings.com/70new40.html . And why not declare a new season in your life?
So what is the meaning of birthdays? God’s view is that your years are gifts, and you are meant to make the most of them, enjoying life and celebrating the good. So live your life abundantly, celebrate every year, measure where you’ve been and plan what you may make of the rest of your time. Life is Go(o)d. Enjoy yours!
● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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