Birthdays are extremely special days. They mark a day for celebrating the gift of life. It’s a time to reflect on the years gone by and anticipate the ones to come. It’s an opportunity to pause and ponder the significance, importance, and value of life. Birthdays are days of reflection, celebration, love, excitement, and fun all rolled into one.
Growing up birthdays were always a big deal in our home. My mom had such a unique way of making my sisters and me feel like birthdays were what you lived for. There was no working on your birthday, and no one was allowed to hassle you on your big day either. Every decision was the birthday girl’s choice, and we were the only ones allowed to answer the phone in case it was someone calling to wish us well. There were pre-birthday celebrations as well as birthday linger turning our special day into week-long affairs at times. In our house there was no doubt that your life was celebrated.
It may sound a little excessive, but that was the point. You see, birthdays were that time where we so obviously knew how deeply we were loved and appreciated. The point was to go to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate the blessing that someone was to you as well as grab hold of just how blessed you were. The best part wasn’t so much a self-centered “celebrate me” mentality, but rather, a deep appreciation for the value of life. Birthdays weren’t just about gifts and cake (though that part was nice too); they were an opportunity to dig deeper and see how blessed we were.
This celebration of life was not left behind in my childhood. In fact, I have carried it with me into adulthood with fervor and thankfully found a husband who has completely embraced this over-the-top approach to birthdays. Speaking of my husband, he is the reason I am discussing this very topic.
My husband Steve’s birthday was on June 17th. Months beforehand I had begun my preparations and planning for this year’s birthday bash. Where can we go? What can we do? How can I demonstrate the extent to which I am blessed by him? It’s such a thrill to think through activities and possibilities for how I get to celebrate the gift of Steve’s life in my own life. After all, that’s what it is all about – expressing gratitude for the gift that someone is to you each and every day.
As my preparations for celebrating came together, I found myself especially introspective about my purpose in planning. Like anything, over time you can lose the understanding and vigor behind why you are doing it. It can become a chore or meaningless motions you just go through, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t heading in a desensitized direction.
So, to keep myself passionate about my purpose in birthday planning, I took time to think about just how much my husband means to me. It wasn’t difficult to drum up a long list of reasons why I think he is the most incredible man I’ve ever met – God-fearing, full of integrity, handsome, loving, talented, hard-working, committed, faithful, funny, adventurous, and thoughtful (to just name a few). The truth is, my husband truly is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and I am incredibly aware of and thankful for that.
He loves me when I’m unlovable. He encourages me when I’m discouraged. He turns my frown upside down. He makes me laugh until my belly hurts. He is the other half that God clearly created for me to take on this world with. He can make me blush with a simple glance. He works so hard, and yet, keeps the important things at the top of his priorities. He loves the Lord, and he constantly gives me glimpses of how much the Lord loves me. He isn’t afraid to do what is right no matter what the cost or how cool (or not cool) it is. He inspires me to be the best I can be, and I can see that I am not the only one he has that effect on. He is just incredible in every single way.
Over time it can be easy to get caught up in the negatives, flaws, and failures of our spouse. It is easy to forget about the wonderful, incredible, amazing things about him or her. Sometimes it is just that we get so busy and caught up in life that we don’t stop to appreciate just how special of a gift we have been given in our spouse. But I can promise you that your spouse is just that – a God given, one-of-a-kind, extraordinary, invaluable gift that should be treasured like nothing else in this world.
That is what is so great about birthdays. They are a time to stop and unwrap the gift of life. It’s an opportunity to remember all the wonderful things and be excited for what is to come. They create space for us to express gratitude and keep in mind the treasures we’ve been entrusted with. Birthdays are a celebration of life, and there is much to be celebrated if we are willing to reflect and accept all that we have been given.