I have always emphasized the importance of celebrating birthdays. No, I do not mean that I love to party. Christians should always be grateful to God's goodness. Nothing more important to be thankful than to the life God has breathed on us. Our birth-days are a reminder of the gift of life God has graciously given to us. We ourselves celebrate in gratefulness to the life God has given us and the opportunity to experience life and worship God.
As Christians, our family members and friends must celebrate birthdays with us. They are the people God blesses through our life (I hope). Our family and friends show their thanksgiving to God for the blessings that flows through our Christian life. But what if we are far from our family and friends? How do we celebrate?
I am out of town to begin a new job - in the Middle East - with not too many Christians around me. How can I show gratitude to God? How can I share the celebration with my family and friends? To add spice, how can I praise God among non-Christians?
This is not the first time that I will celebrate my birthday away from the closest people in my heart. I have always wondered though how to celebrate my birthday if it was a thanksgiving for God's gift of life to me. I did three simple ways to celebrate my birthday perfectly.
- First, you've guess it right - I prayed. Of course, we talk to God and express our gratitude for our life and the blessings in the previous years. We also thank God for the opportunity to be a channel of blessing to more people in the coming years.
- Second, dine with your family and friends through Skype. While there is no substitute for physical presence - it is never the measure of fellowship. We Christians have long known that physical presence or absence does not define our relationship with our fellow Christians. Even time cannot be a hindrance to our fellowship with other Christians of old and the future we anticipate. As such, our fellowship can be spiced up by the social media available in our finger tips.
- Third, receive a gift. A gift is offered to show how special is the person. God gives us gifts because we are special to God. Birthday gifts for us are expressions of how meaningful and special we are to others. But more than that, receiving gifts is a reflection of how important we are to God. Now since, I am alone - I bought myself a gift that tells me I am special.
These three simple ways was the best way to celebrate a birthday away from home. It made me happy. I saw my family and friends happy as well. I am sure God is happy too.