Iam fast approaching another birthday. Birthdays aren’t quite what they used to be. As a child my mother would make a special birthday cake in the shape of a dog or bunny or some other animal. She would use licorice for whiskers and other candies for eyes. Each one was unique and all were wonderful demonstrations of her love. Now my birthday just means that I have to renew my driver’s license.

When you think about it, birthdays are a rather odd celebration. To have a birthday you don’t have to do anything special. They aren’t a reward for some accomplishment. And they aren’t reserved for a select few. Everyone gets exactly one birthday every year. And on that day, you are celebrated just for being you.

I suppose birthdays are a lot like God’s grace. God’s grace is poured out on each of us in overflowing measure. We don’t have to do anything to earn it, just receive it. To push the analogy, Christ (like my mom) did all the work, and we get to enjoy the sweet benefits of his labor. What an act of love.

The bible records many births, the birth of Jesus being most prominent. But the only recorded birthday celebrations are of the Pharoah and King Herod, neither of whom were very nice people. This has led some Christians to refuse to celebrate birthdays. But I think this just makes my point. Birthdays come to all of us, and God’s grace is available to all. 

So whether it’s your birthday or not this week, celebrate the free gift of God’s love given to you in Christ Jesus. It’s better than birthday cake. Even ones shaped like doggies or bunnies.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free.  — Romans 3:24 Good News Translation