This article will have to be short and sweet, just like a vertically challenged piece of birthday cake! I’m extremely tired (in a good way) both from a great time at the advanced CIA training today and from our three-week-old baby girl who likes to stay up and swap stories all night. But I still wanted to write a little something.
“Happy birthday” is one of the best things to say to a person and “go to hell” is the worst thing to say to a person, at least from a Christian standpoint. I’m sure to most people the latter is more obvious than the former. I have always mainly used Facebook to wish people “happy birthday”. It may seem like I’m doing it out of rote, but it’s more than that.
It may start to sound trite to some people to hear “happy birthday” repeatedly. But if you really think about it, somebody wishing you “happy birthday” is about the best thing they can say to you. They are celebrating you being alive! They are saying that life wouldn’t be the same without you around.
To be human is to be an image bearer of God. What can possibly be more special than that? The Creator and Sustainer of everything we know made us in his image to enjoy him forever. This is one of the reasons I like to say “happy birthday” multiple times a day to people when I get the chance. The other reason is that I’m a bit crazy.
Also, I no longer say or think “go to Hell!”, or at least I try not to. I think most people realize—and this is how I have always meant it—that when people say this, they don’t actually wish for another person to go to the literal Hell as described in the Bible. It is more of a “you’re a jerk!” kind of knee-jerk reaction to some perceived offense.
No, let’s leave “go to Hell” in the past and carry on with “happy birthday” for all the different good meanings we have for it. Think of all the people who can no longer tell you “happy birthday” and those you can no longer wish a “happy birthday” because they are no longer around. How much would you give to have them around again?
Birthdays aren’t just another way to mark time! So the next time you think about rolling your eyes at a person for wishing you “happy birthday” for the umpteenth time, give them a big hug and thank them for celebrating you!