Let's see, run a search for "birthday" references in the Bible... Genesis 40:20, "Pharaoh's birthday came three days later, and he prepared a banquet for all his officials and staff. He summoned his chief cup-bearer and chief baker to join the other officials." Might work... Exodus 30:14, "All who have reached their twentieth birthday must give this sacred offering to the Lord." Okay... Exodus 38:26, "This silver came from the tax collected from each man registered in the census. The tax was collected from 603,550 men who had reached their twentieth birthday. Ooo, don't like taxes... Okay, how about the New Testament, Matthew 14:6, "But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias's daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him," No, no, no! We know how that story ends.

Okay, let's try "presents". Hmm... Genesis 24:53, "Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother." Now, that's getting better. 2 Chronicles 32:23, "From then on King Hezekiah became highly respected among all the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the Lord arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah, too." Esther 9:22, "He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor." Now, that's a more noble focus. Let's see what the New Testament has to say about this... only one reference: Revelation 11:10, "All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them." Oh, wow. I don't want any association with that party!

So I guess it really isn't all about "birthday" parties and "presents" as I celebrate my 55th birthday today. I love my birthdays! Yesterday, our children gave Kathy and me a wonderful cookout for our birthdays. We even had several cakes to chose from. Birthdays are tons of fun and should be savored as a celebration of God's goodness in our lives. And for me, at last, I can now get the Senior Citizen discount at Denny's restaurants.  

But at the heart of it, what makes today most special Kathy and me? As many of you know, we share the same birthday (although I was born a couple of years before Kathy). We also share the same anniversary! But there is more to this story.

Let's return to the scripture where we gain a sense of what gives our lives meaning.   

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance-an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay." (1 Peter 1:3-4)

"Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit." (John 3:6-8)

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2).

You know, I AM glad to have a birthday today. More important than birthdays, parties, gifts, festivities, and even physical age, is the reality that being "born again" as a new creation, being transformed by Jesus by the renewing of our minds, abiding with the resurrected Lord who gives us hope and eternal life... these are the things that make today really special. This is what makes everyday special.

So, it is to our mothers that we really want to honor today. They did all the heavy lifting those many years ago. Our fathers waited nervously in their respective waiting rooms (as fathers did in that day) and all Kathy and I did, as babies waiting to be born, was to show up for the party. It was a gift of grace. The love of a parent for a child. The gift of life and new life from a loving God. Happy Birthday!

Let the party continue. Blow out the candles and open the presents. Life is so precious. We are so blessed. God is so good, all the time.


Comments? Bob Ayres

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