March 14, 2022

Celebrate Birthdays

Written by Boyd Bailey

A birthday celebration is about who a person is, not what a person does.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 14, 2022

His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. Job 1:4

Birthdays are necessary to celebrate. Why? Because a celebration of a birth is about who a person is, not what a person does. You are celebrated for being you! Our family has a tradition of birthday affirmations dating back to when the children were small. It’s an intentional and meaningful time for each birthday attendee to share a character trait most admired in the life of the person being celebrated. “I am grateful for your patience and kindness, especially when I am having a hard day. I admire how you (without being asked) clean up after a fun play time or how you help (with a good attitude) mom and dad with chores around the house”. Even our adult children enjoy this time of love and encouragement. “You make your husband feel so supported and you really know your children. I admire how you uniquely love your family and have fun!” Birthday celebrations say you are loved and admired for being uniquely you—and here is why.

Job’s family understood this idea of feasting in their home with birthday celebrations. Being wealthy, the sons of Job could afford a more elaborate meal, but food was not the primary focus. People were the purpose—inviting those to this auspicious occasion who knew them the best and loved them the most. I remember a special birthday my friend and I attended in eastern Europe, hosted by the father of our Macedonian friend, whose birthday we were celebrating. The dad, as was the birthday tradition, prepared a massive pot of sumptuous beef and vegetable stew with fresh bread to sop up the tomato broth, brimming with flavor. Best soup ever! With limited language exchanged, the birthday boy’s (man’s) face said it all—his joy and gratitude for celebrating him! 

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands” (Psalm 138:8).

Birthdays celebrate God’s purpose at work in the life of His child. Formed by the Lord in her mother’s womb—the Creator of life affirms His beloved for being born and for being born again! Our family tradition concludes with the one being celebrated sharing his spiritual journey. To recount and remember with gratitude when the grace of God became real through trusting Jesus Christ alone for eternal salvation and abundant life on earth. Often tears of thanksgiving flow with heartfelt joy for the grandest life experience of all—knowing and receiving the Lord’s love and forgiveness. Spiritual birth is the most precious gift! 

Henri Nouwen, the Dutch theologian who taught graduate courses and served special adults, writes: 

Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: “Thank you for being you.” Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: “Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.” No, we say: “Thank you for being born and being among us.” On birthdays we celebrate the present. We do not complain about what happened or speculate about what will happen, but we lift someone up and let everyone say: “We love you”. Indeed, love celebrates birthdays with love! 

“For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life” (Proverbs 9:11).


Heavenly Father, I celebrate the gift of being born and the grace of being born again, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


How can we make birthday celebrations more meaningful in our family?

Related Reading

Psalm 139:13; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 1:6

Worship Resource

Sean Feucht: Celebrate


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