Birthday Celebrations: A Christian Biblical Perspective!
Is the celebration of one's birthday something that is beneficial or helpful to a Christian's walk with God? Birthday celebrations are as common as Christmas and Easter celebrations, but does this make them right?
Let's first go to the bible to see what it has to specifically say about birthdays...
Job 1:4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. KJV
Here is a possible reference to these men celebrating "their day," and Job, to be sure they weren't sinning against God, did sacrifice...
Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. KJV
Notice this was something Job did routinely for his kids, yet notice also that Job was NOT party to these "celebrations." There's certainly nothing wrong with eating and having a nice meal of celebration, so these passages suggest there WAS something not right with their actions.
Here are the only other direct scriptures discussing birthdays...
Gen 40:20 Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday , that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. 21 Then he restored the chief butler to his butlership again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. NKJV
Matt 14:6 But when Herod's birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist's head here on a platter." 9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. NKJV
Mark 6:21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you." 23 He also swore to her,"Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom." 24 So she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist!" 25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." NKJV
Notice that on all these occasions, something negative or evil took place. Nothing good came from these celebrations as scriptures relate them.
The world believes they celebrate Christ's birth on December 25 every year. As the articles on Christmas relate, Christ couldn't have been born on December 25th, AND, an even greater argument against birthday celebration, God nowhere in the bible commands us to celebrate Christ's birth. That is a human tradition which actually confuses the truth about Christ. God commands us to celebrate His death.
Nowhere in the bible does it relate that God's people celebrated their birthdays or their children's birthdays. Those which scripture speaks of celebrating their own births are certainly not good examples of how we should act. Birthdays celebrations are just another way to commercialize a practice... creating a tradition for financial gain, like Christmas.
Let's consider the practice. The celebration of one's birthday focuses on self. We are teaching our children that their birth into the world is so vital, so valued, so important that it should be celebrated certainly isn't a humble attitude, but lends itself to selfishness, especially where gifts are brought into the practice.
Imagine this: Imagine on your birthday, you invite all your friends over for a celebration... but not the traditional self-centered celebration. Instead of all your friends bringing gifts to YOU, YOU give all your friends gifts, and thank them for being your friends and that you are alive to have their friendship and to know THEM. How much would THAT change the eagerness for one's birthday to arrive, and to believe it is of such importance that it needs celebrating?
If God didn't feel His own son's birthday, an event of the greatest value to every human in the world, was to be celebrated, how much less should we be celebrating our own?
Does this mean every celebration of the arrival of a certain attainment in years is wrong? Where in our society is a specific age routinely celebrated? The Jews practice bar mitzvah, when a 13-year-old Jewish boy, is considered an "adult" and responsible for his moral and religious duties. Our culture has no such practice.
What about someone reaching 100 years of age? Would honoring their lives with a celebration be wrong? By the time you reach 100, most people realize what humility is and probably aren't vainly thinking about how important they are.
Birthday celebration don't seem to be something of value, especially to children. In fact, it could be easily argued that such teachings to our kids only serve to focus them on "getting" instead of "giving." God has set aside 7 times for His people to celebrate times. His Holy Days provide not only rich education and symbolic meaning, they focus on collective humanity, not self.
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