W.I.S.H. Post – January 23, 2019

Read: 1John 4:7

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Thanks for all the birthday greetings!  Last week I turned 55. I’ve been thinking about birthdays lately.  It began with pondering Christmas and Jesus’ birth; some Christian churches and sects don’t celebrate His birthday, and some don’t recognize or celebrate any birthdays.  Have you ever wondered why?

It has to do with ancient pagan practices.  As I addressed in a previous WISH post, some people think that the date of Jesus’ birth was chosen by the church to correspond to an ancient pagan holiday (in that WISH post I showed why that’s likely not the case), and some very conservative religious groups don’t want anything to do with pagan practices.  That’s the reason why Christmas isn’t observed.

What about birthdays in general?  The Bible doesn’t refer to birthday anniversaries.  The Bible mostly just says, “so-and-so begat what’s-his-name”.  We’re not told birthdates, and there’s no mention of birthday anniversary celebrations in the Bible. However, there were some in ancient cultures who did keep track of birthdates and observed birthday celebrations – some of the ancient pagans!  That’s the reason why some very conservative religious folk today don’t observe birthdays – it’s not Biblical, and it’s too pagan looking!

People in the Old Testament, and New Testament, wanted to be faithful to God, and not be like the pagans.  But, ancient, extinct pagan religious practices aside, what’s wrong with celebrating birthdays?  Nothing.  At a very basic human level –anthropologically – it is normal and healthy human nature to appreciate people and to give thanks to the Creator for creating them. It’s Basic Life 101. It is good, healthy, and natural to give God thanks for those whom we love and share our lives with.  That’s the real standard, that’s the real value of what’s happening with birthdays.

Long before God’s covenant with Abraham and Sarah (beginning “God’s people”), pagans were getting married, having kids, and celebrating birthdays.  That we have that in common is not a bad thing, and those celebrations are not unfaithful to God. People of all cultures and walks of life appreciate and honor love.  It’s a good thing!

Shalom, Pastor Rob