It’s a yearly happening. When you’re a kid, you count down the days. When you’re a young adult, you hold to the hope that perhaps this will be the year your dreams come true. When you’re a middle-aged person, you treat this day that used to be so anticipated as something of little importance. By the time you’re 80, you try to deny its arrival. Yet, regardless of how we view it and the reception we give it, this day comes faithfully every year. It can be depended on our whole lifetime.
As you read these fictional snapshots, think about your own birthdays. Whether or not you see them as such, they’re a gift, which makes them grace in our lives. Thank God for life. Borrow the heart of a child; treasure your birthday this year. It will do your soul good.
She picked up the phone from the nightstand beside her bed to check the time. It was 6:30. The date stared up at her. Friday, January 10th, 2020. She sighed. It was her birthday. Her fifty-fifth, to be exact. Oh well, it didn’t really matter. She had to go to work today anyway. Five more years until retirement. She didn’t hate her job; she was just tired of it. Thirty years in the same office could do that to a person.
It was 8:00, and in the nursing home, residents were being readied for the day. The young nurse approached the bedside of the frail old man.
“Happy birthday, Jim,” she said. The man smiled.
“Must be about a hundred by now,” he joked. She laughed with him.
“I believe you’re only 83. Let’s get you up now, okay. Your son might stop in later today.”
“What’s a birthday?” The brown-eyed little girl scooped up more of her scrambled egg with her fingers. Her mama handed her a fork.
“Use your fork, Emma. A birthday means you’ve gotten older. You’re three now instead of two.”
“Three,” Emma said and held up two fingers.
“What day of the week is it?” Asked the third grade teacher.
“Friday!” A little boy yelled out.
“That’s right,” the teacher replied. “Do we have any special announcements to share?”
“It’s my birthday,” a curly-haired boy stated with pride.
“Well, so it is. Shall we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ for Aiden, boys and girls?”
The children sang together- some off-key and some with confidence, as Aiden grinned big.
It was noon, and the exhausted young mom realized her kids would go down for a nap soon. Typically while they slept, she scurried around, trying to accomplish everything she couldn’t do while three small voices cried “Mama” every two minutes. But today, she thought to herself, today I’m going to nap while they do. I’m tired, and it’s my birthday. Surely I can treat myself to a rest. Besides, I won’t feel like going out to dinner with my husband tonight if I’m this worn out.
The young man behind the counter at a small town gas station assisted yet another customer. There didn’t seem to be a lull today. A winter storm was predicted, and the locals were out doing errands before the snow started. He was glad that at least he didn’t have to work late on his birthday. Maybe he could even stop at the gym before he headed home to an empty house and a boring movie.
She heaved a sigh of relief when she got in her car. Work was over for the day. Not that her job at the coffee shop was terrible; she actually enjoyed it, but her feet got so sore from being on them all day. She smiled. She’d savor her hot coffee on the way home. The girls had made sure to supply her with her favorite for the drive. “In honor of your birthday,” they said.
She laughed to herself. “It’s been a good day. Maybe this will be a good year for me, too.”
The first-time father looked over at the hospital bed where his wife and newborn daughter lay sleeping. They’d named the baby Stephanie. It meant “crown,” and she was certainly that to them- a little princess, royalty, the fulfillment of their dreams. January 10th- it was the day that forever changed his life.
The day was nearly over, and the now twenty year old locked her apartment door.
“I may as well have an early night, Tasha,” she told her cat. The cat got up from the rug and stretched. The girl reached down and picked her up. “Or we could stay up and read a book and drink tea. What do you think?”
“Meow,” said Tasha.
“Okay, a book and tea it is. It’ll be my birthday treat.”
Daddy closed the blinds and read a story to his birthday girl. Then he tucked the blankets in around her and placed her stuffed pink bear into her arms.
“Shall we say your prayers, pumpkin?” He asked. She nodded and closed her eyes tight.
“Dear Jesus,” she prayed, “Thank you for birthdays. Thank you for chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Thank you for my new dolly and puzzles. Thank you for Daddy and Mommy. Bless everybody who had a birthday today. Amen.”