31st January 2022

It’s my birthday tomorrow (and also that of at least one other Tyndale member) – not just an ordinary birthday in my case – a big one with a nought on the end! Ten years ago the family celebrated in style but this year the continuing concern about Covid means that it will be more ‘low-key’. It set me to wondering how people in the Bible celebrated birthdays. Not good news, I fear. I can only find two birthday celebrations – Pharaoh celebrated by hanging his chief baker and centuries later Herod had John the Baptist’s head chopped off. Sometimes it’s best not to follow biblical precedents!

At one time the church discouraged people from celebrating their birthdays. If they wanted to mark the passing of the years, they were encouraged to do so on the feast day of the saint who shared their name (too bad if your name was Kevin or Gladys!). That seems a pity. A birthday provides a good opportunity to look back over the past year (or decade) and give thanks to God for all the blessings we have received or the comfort we may have experienced for any sorrows. It’s also a good time to recommit ourselves to our faith. In some churches the whole congregation is invited to do this together on the first Sunday of a new year. While that has its place, it’s good to set aside time for similar reflection and commitment individually.

David T Roberts