Today is my birthday, which doesn’t mean the same as it once did.
I vaguely remember the days of my youth, when a birthday was cause for a grand celebration. I recall my 12th birthday when my Little League baseball teammates all came to our house. We gathered under the carport of our Florida home to enjoy a cake made in the shape of a baseball field, complete with little plastic baseball players sitting atop that glorious concoction of sugary delight.
I also recall the surprise party on my 18th birthday, as I prepared to head off to my first year of college, as my youth choir friends from First Baptist Church of Merritt Island, Fla.—recently returned from an extended choir tour—packed our home to party on soft drinks, chips and–I have no doubt—cake.
Now that I’ve reached my sixth decade (plus one year, to be accurate), I find that birthdays are less about presents and cake (though a good strawberry cake is still hard to beat as birthday fare), and more about the joy of being with family and friends and celebrating the blessing of life together. Having two teenage sons who will—one day much too soon—be on their way to establishing their own families and traditions, I’m savoring each day and each opportunity to share in the moments of their lives.
Many of those reading these words have thus far celebrated fewer birthdays, and many of your children are at the stage of their toys still being small and affordable. Let me encourage you: Start savoring these days now. Don’t let the daily encumbrances of life and ministry steal time away from the great gift God has given you in your family. One day, you’ll look back and realize you don’t remember the committee meetings, but you’ll remember and value the time you invested in your family.
Consider this my birthday gift to you.