HOW TO CELEBRATE A BIRTHDAY
It seems old Rip Van Winkle and I have slept a looooong time and when finally awake, discover time has passed. His time was twenty years; mine is seventy-four. It seems as if it were just yesterday I was wearing my Letterman’s Jacket flying down the steps of my high school’s entrance hurrying so I wouldn’t be late for Basketball practice. It seems I just closed my eyes for a short nap and I’m a year older today.
It has been a number of years since I was anxiously waiting to celebrate my birthday. It has been many years since I was put into a ‘holding-pattern’: Jack Benny’s 39 and holding club; and I haven’t reached that stage in my life where I want the world to know how old I am; like I did as a kid.
I recall fondly many ‘special’ birthday occasions our family celebrated my birthday. It was wonderful for all in my family to treat me extra special; my siblings even teased me more on that day, and I received the honor of cutting the cake, taking the piece I wanted. To have an extra scoop of homemade ice cream in my dish; and to get inexpensive presents from my sisters and brother, and one special gift from my parents finished off the celebration in high-fashion.
This past few generations of parents have ruined a kid’s celebration of a birthday because they have been foolish enough to buy-into the ‘fairness’: all get a prize so feelings won’t be hurt’ malarkey. Too often, the celebration requires parents to spend money they don’t have to show the world they know how to celebrate a birthday. It is a ‘nice’ occasion; not an earth-shattering event.
I think when a Pilgrim reaches a certain age: seventies, every birthday changes the image we see in the mirror; and we can’t deny we also see the shadow of the ‘Grim Reaper’. If our eyesight is that bad, our body sends its discomforting messages, in Neon.
Pilgrims, If we could take the focus off of us for a moment, and place it on our spiritual walk with Christ, as we celebrate our individual birthdays, If he invited us to his Birthday Party, what spiritual present might we each bring to Him that would please him and allow Him to have a great birthday celebration?
“I’d bring him a gift of Peace for the whole world,” isn’t that the consistent answer all people give, even Miss America? “I’d bring Him a gift of joy and excitement,” you might say. The only problem with this type of thinking is that he doesn’t need any of this; he embodies it and is the source for it. My suggestions:
Wrap your surliness and your churlish ways in a present and give them over to him so he can ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with joy and gratitude. Stick out your tongue, that little piece of flesh that brings so much venom, putridfication, and hurtful things into other peoples’ lives as you find pleasure in spreading evil as you nonchalantly absolve you of its consequences, cut it off and wrap it in some aluminum foil so nothing seeps out and tie a colored ribbon on it, and present it as a gift to the Lord so He can give a sigh of relief knowing you can’t do any more spiritual harm in his Kingdom; and He will grow a New type of tongue for you that speaks only the Fruit of the Spirit. Investigate the depth of your reverence and awe about his divinity and the measurement of your fear and trembling concerning how you cavalierly approach a Holy God with your messed-up sinful life; and come to his celebration after your garment (Robe of Righteousness) has been washed, ironed, and made spiritually presentable for such a Heavenly occasion; and, He will feel doubly blessed because a Pilgrim cares nearly as much about His respect as he does about his love for you. In your mind, after you have created and fashioned the biblical altar you use each time you profess your sins and seek His forgiveness, decorate it with festive colors that festoon the heavens…be they night or day, and present your gift to him for it will signify you know he is the master of the Universe; and he thought you were divinely special, for he created you. Bring a simple gift for his celebration that begins and ends each day with a song of praise; humming is even acceptable because His name on your lips will ensure he knows your thoughts haven’t strayed far from him.
A thought to remember: Pilgrims only celebrate a birthday once a year; Jesus gives birth to a new creature in a second…if each time this happens, we celebrate his ‘Birthdate’ all Pilgrims can celebrate Jesus’ birthday every day of our lives. I know, I know… this may be a bit of convoluted figuring, but, you have to give me an A for trying.
My plans for celebrating my seventy-fourth birthday include fellowship with family and friends, if the weather allows, golf with my son and my brother, and a fellowship meal at home of friends from our church.
Each year that passes it forces me to contemplate the nature and purpose of my blog. If my writing carries a biblical influence upon my Pilgrims lives; whether it pleases or displeases, whether it infuriates and honks-off; whether is galls and chafes how you conduct your walk with scripture and Jesus; whether you are a closet ‘naysayer’ or an avowed public one, if my writing produces a modicum of thought provoking tweaking of how you align your biblical life with actual scripture, and it forces you to become more honest and walk with greater integrity amongst a people lost and going to Hell, then I have accomplished my purpose for the blog. If these things are true for you, then help me enlarge this Godly influence: make a concerted effort to recruit other Pilgrims who will recruit other Pilgrims. You can’t give me a better Birthday gift!