Today is my birthday. I'm 37. I'm really not a big fan of birthdays. Don't get me wrong, I definitely appreciate the well-wishes and gifts I receive. The problem started when I read somewhere that in ancient cultures, it would have been thought of as the height of arrogance to expect those around you to celebrate the day you were born. The more I thought about it, the more I could see the point. This is one of the many reasons why the celebration of Jesus' birth was a priority to the early Church Fathers. It was important to recognize that the birth of Jesus, uniquely among men, should be recognized as something altogether different and special. For the record, please know I do not think you are arrogant if you love celebrating your birthday. This is an idea I've been wrestling with and certainly don't impose it on anyone else.
However, the practice of celebrating someone's life when they die has always been an honorable practice. It is customary to recount the good of a person's life and look back on the total impact a life made on this world. It is why we have inspiring quotes etched into tombstones. It's why we write heart-felt obituaries. It's why we attend funerals.
So, when my birthday rolls around, I like to reflect on Proverbs 10:7 "The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot." This is what I'm praying happens at the end of my life on earth. You know these people, don't you? When I think of my grandfathers, whom have passed, their memory is a blessing. They lived and loved well and their impact far outlived them. So, today, my 37th birthday is a day I humble myself before the Lord and pray, "God, may I walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that the memory of me is You."
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