Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me.
I thought about getting up early today to enjoy an extra hour or so of consciousness on this my birthday (I flew home from college on my b-day one year and so had a 26-hour day, not to mention nearly a week of festivities since I got to celebrate with so many people in different places). But in the end, I opted for extra time in bed cuddling with the puppies. I'm not sure that there are many better ways (for a person in my life situation) to start your day, than to have a velvety black lab nose and silky boston terrier ears to stroke while enjoying an extra 20 minutes in a warm bed. Made extra warm by a very large, hairy black body (that's Migo, in case clarification is needed). Luxury, thy name is sleeping in.
I jump-started my morning with a treat - a 16 oz doubleshot white mocha. And I've been enjoying b-day wishes all day from friends and fam (including a txt message from my bro at 6:26 am). And another mocha delivered by a friend at 9:30!
You know, in some ways, there's really nothing too special about a birthday. It's another day; another 24 hour period; I'm the same person as I was yesterday and will be tomorrow; I'm a day older than I was yesterday and a day younger than I'll be tomorrow. I didn't shower today; I'll shower tomorrow. I've got emails to respond to, meetings to attend, Taco John's for lunch.
But there are two things that make birthdays special. For me, it's a monument; an occasion to reflect on his mercies, which are new every morning. And as of today, that's 10,227 mornings (365.25 x my age) of new mercies from the Lord. I started making a list last night of 28 things I'm thankful for, but I got to about 19 before falling asleep. I'll continue it tonight.
It's also special because other people intentionally make it special. They have occasion to show you their love (3 e-cards from one person? a phone call from a long-lost friend, and emails from others? really thoughtful gifts from family, and plain fun gifts from friends?). I think it's biblical to take time every now and then to pause and articulate our appreciation for someone in whom God also delights, and in whom he's working.
In fact (I reflected on this while getting my b-day massage), God likes to create a sense of occasion; he's built it into the calendar he gave to his people. First in the OT through festivals and feasts, and continuing with the seasons and holidays we take to commemorate certain aspects of God's grace. We celebrate Jesus all year round (or we should); but Advent is a special season to focus on the blessings of the incarnation. We perpetually live in the shadow of the cross, but Easter highlights God's resurrection power for us. Birthdays provide occasion for us to do the same for people, to celebrate God's image in them and to bless and encourage them.
At least that's what I'm telling myself today as I'm having a day be more or less all about me. I'm feeling so loved. Thanks, everybody!