Tonight, at English Club, we discussed the importance of birthdays. We looked at the origins of birthday celebrations based on superstition. I had people from Taiwan, Japan and France in my group and we listened to stories of different ways of celebrating and the importance put on certain age milestones. One of the people in our group shared how her family had never celebrated birthdays and this did not seem to bother her. It made me wonder about why we place such importance on individuals' birthdays in our culture.
It seemed to me that our Western Culture makes a much bigger deal of birthdays than some other cultures might. I wonder if it may be that our need for value and worth is somehow fulfilled by being recognized and spoilt rotten one day in the year. I wonder whether our birthday celebrations would involve so much food and gift giving if we were more aware of our deep value. In Psalm 139 it says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
I often say to people that if they were to read Psalm 139 every day and learnt to believe it, the world would be a different place. If we could all realize how deeply loved we are by our Creator and our own great value, we might then see that also in each and every person we meet. Imagine what the world would be like if we all realized the value of our own self and of others. Maybe Psalm 139 should be traditionally read after the singing of Happy Birthday.