“From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
– Psalm 22:10 (NIV)

This is a busy time of year for birthdays in our family.  The younger ones are eager to celebrate their annual milestone in full party fashion, while the older ones claim, “It’s just another day.” and are content with a simple card slid quietly under the morning paper.


Why does our attitude about birthdays change as the years roll on?  How do we go from joyful, childhood revelry; where we cheerfully sing, “Happy birthday to me!” to uttering muffled grunts, and begging friends and family to keep their voices down when they’re moved to sing to us?


As my own birthday passed just a couple of days ago, I’ve thought much about this shift in attitude, and wondered if we could gain, once again, a more hopeful, child-like, and possibly Christ-focused vision of birthdays.


Recently, I read an article stating that the celebration of birthdays are immersed deeply in pagan rituals.  Couple that with Bible verses like Ecclesiastes 7:1 which states, “A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.” seem to make good arguments that we should sweep the whole thing under the rug, and pretend it never happened.


So maybe birthdays are better left off the calendar.


Yet, I’m not sure.  I think birthdays can mean so much more.  Here are some of my thoughts as to why birthdays are worth celebrating:


God is a heck of a knitter.  Can you just picture him sitting in a big chair, all in white, knitting a robe for David or Paul?  I’m sure he’s never had unfinished projects sitting in his knitting bag, but I’m not talking about needles and yarn.


I’m talking about his knitting work with bone, sinew, and flesh.


“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) speaks of the explicit care and consideration our Father took in preparation for our deliverance into this world.  We are a creation he deemed worthy of making.  Not a mistake, not second-rate – HIS creation.


God makes very good stuff.  As the years pass on, we can have a hard time accepting that we were created in “very goodness”.  Our many trials and troubles in word and deed can erode away any notions of worthiness, but “God saw all that he made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)


God gave us life, to give us life.  He brought us forth into this harsh world delighting and desiring in us to develop and grow a disposition reflective of him.  All our days, he is in relentless pursuit of our unity with him.  His life, his death, and his resurrection are his eternal gifts to us.


Speaking of gifts…God gives gifts that can’t be returned.  How does this point support celebrating birthdays?  Well, has someone ever given you a gift you thought was completely unoriginal and lame? Perhaps it was a book, or a piece of artwork, but as time went on, you would pick it up, study it, and it would begin to impact your life.  So often, we disregard the gifts God gives us thinking they’re not grand enough, or we’re not important enough to possess them.  “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29)  We didn’t come empty into this world.  As God placed our inward parts, he placed grace-filled gifts in us too.  We may fight his thoughtfulness – his purpose, but I think he patiently waits for us to embrace them; never taking them back.


Candles make great benchmarks.  I recently sent my brother-in-law a birthday card that had a picture of a cake lit up with so many candles, you could see it from outer space.  As we get older, we tend to settle for a single candle on our cake, rather than lighting it up with the true number of years they represent.  I’ve realized I no longer want a single candle.  The light it gives off is not sufficient.  For every year that passes, I want the candles on my cake to reflect the light I shine into this world.  A single candle simply won’t do anymore.  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (John 5:16)


As Christians, there is much to look forward to when our days here come to an end, but our final destination could not happen if we were not first knitted with holy hands, born into this darkened world, and saved by the grace of our heavenly Father.  For me, birthdays are celebrations not of my age, but of my journey with Christ.


Hope in Motion

  1. Read Psalm 139:1-18.  Reflect on David’s words of praise to our Lord.
  2. How do you view your birthday?  Is it a reminder of a life moving too quickly, or another year of your physical self breaking down?  Leave a comment below.
  3. What do birthdays look like in your home?  Share your thoughts below.

4 Replies

  1. Lori West

    This is an awesome reminder. I hit my 40’s and found everyone around me getting depressed and fighting the aging process. God has given me a grateful heart that with age hopefully comes wisdom and spiritual growth. I know with each passing year He is forming more into the image of His son and that is far more important to me than another wrinkle or gray hair!

  2. Devery

    Happy belated wouldn’t work as your birthday came right on time. What is says, though, is I need to get to know you better so that you are a person I don’t forget, on time! LOL What I’ve come appreciate about birthdays is that God’s purpose for our lives….”for such a time as this”….. has begun, and we are all significant in the role He has invisioned. He put us on this time line, right now, to accomplish His purpose and it is exciting to see the plan unfold as the years roll by. Hopefully, the present we get is more wisdom to not go against the His purpose. In that regard, you’ve been blessed with many gifts!

  3. Lori Perez

    thank you Raye for this insight of birthdays. I have always thought that birthdays are the most special day of the year for people. I always tell my friends and family that this is the day that the Lord put you on this earth. It is a great day. One time when I was buying my usual stack of birthday cards at Hallmark to last me all year for family and friends the cashier at the counter had made a comment to me about how I am blessed to have so many friends and family in my life because of the amount that I was buying. I told her I was very blessed indeed. When I left the store it really made me think how much the Lord has blessed me with so many people in my life. Happy Belated Birthday and I pray that you do have many more.

    1. Thank you Lori! What a great idea to buy all your cards at the beginning of the year. I’ve tried many times to get cards out, but I can’t seem to keep it up.

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