The Thing About Birthdays


Last week I turned twenty-seven. I know a lady’s not supposed to tell, but due to my appearance, some think I’m thirteen…which is less than half my age, people. Maybe I need a haircut. Maybe I need to carry around my birth certificate or stick it to my forehead. My husband says no.
As birthdays tend to do, this birthday led me to ponder a little about my life, but specifically about my birthday ten years ago–the one when I turned seventeen. Being the dramatic teen so many of us were, I was bummed because I thought seventeen was lame. My “sweet sixteen” had been filled with two parties, a hope chest, a purity ring, and just a feeling of being at a great age. But seventeen. It just felt old, but not old enough for anything meaningful. It wasn’t eighteen–I couldn’t vote, dog-gone-it. 
Mentioning my thoughts to Dad, I was very surprised when, on the day of my birthday, I opened a tiny box and in it was a piece of fine jewelry, a dainty, gold necklace.
He told me, “You said ‘seventeen’ wasn’t a special birthday, but you are a special girl.” 
Oh, Dad. He’s not a gushy person, but when he speaks those words of love, I tend to melt in them. We are always defining ourselves by our fathers, aren’t we?
Anyway, as we get older birthdays seem less important, but whose heart doesn’t swell just the smallest bit when someone says, “Happy birthday!” or sings to them, or buys a cake for the co-workers to share?
  Don’t you just love Shirley?
So, why do we celebrate birthdays? We celebrate birthdays because we celebrate people, we celebrate life.
One Wednesday night at church, our pastor asked the congregation for some examples of how they showed love in an everyday way–I was expecting a few typical, lofty, churchy answers. But a young man took the microphone and said, “I pretty much never say ‘no’ to birthday cake.” There was silence, then laughter. How true that was. Being willing to celebrate the lives of those around us–that is a big part of love.
So pull out the tattered banner and blow up a few balloons–celebrate birthdays because life is a gift from God, and all His gifts are good (James 1:17).
Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann
P.S. This may be the weirdest “Happy birthday” photo…ever.