Birthday Theology

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When it comes to being born, I had nothing to do with it. It was all a work of my parents. Simply put, by their own willful actions and desires, I was born.

Funny how birthdays, though, rarely celebrate the people truly responsible for the birth. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not suggesting a celebration reformation among birthdays (although my wife and I have jokingly talked about what it might look like if the kids gave the parents the gifts…we’re up for that!). But let’s be honest. Celebrating a birthday is more about expressing joy that, due to nothing on your part, you’re here!

There’s a theological lesson here, and you’re ahead of me, aren’t you? God birthed me spiritually. I had nothing to do with it. His grace alone brought about everything needed to bring me into his family. Consequently, our spiritual birthdays shouldn’t be centered on us—how “we found Jesus” or what a good thing it is that we “turned our life around with God.” That’s as crazy as a birthday party for a 2-year old and then thanking the little toddler for working with his/her parents and being born.

In ruminating on this one day, I was struck by the wording in Luke 15, where three things are found: a sheep, a coin, and a son. And in each case, it was all the work of the finder. The coin didn’t light a flare for the seeker; the sheep didn’t send out a S.O.S. And the son had no bargaining chips when he was seen from a long ways off. Yet, they were found, due to the grace and kindness of the finder. Period. And yes, a party followed, but not to reward the acts of the found, but rather to celebrate the fact of the find. Therein lies the best reason to throw a party—He found us!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4–5)

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