Jehova's Witnesses believe that the most evil holiday to celebrate is one's birthday. They say that it is the most self-absorbed celebration, centered around being intentionally selfish for the whole day. Interesting concept.
I personally love birthday celebrations. Last night we celebrated Lauran's birthday. Yes, there were elements of the evening that put the focus on her, and that's part of the whole point! We are faced with ourselves and our lives each time our birthday comes around. What better way to mark the progression of our lives than with a party? Birthdays are opportunities to celebrate life, to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another. We surround ourselves with people who love us as we anticipate the new and exciting things that the next seasons will bring. Yes, we do that collectively on New Year's Eve, but it is also important to be individually reminded of our need to begin anew as we continue on with what has been. Birthdays give us that very opportunity throughout the course of the entire year.
My birthday is not until January. Compared to this January, what in my life will be different when January 2006 rolls around? Actually, there is potential for a world of change in my life by then! For example:
I will probably be living in another city.
I will have a different job.
My social life will have changed.
I will have experienced my first holiday season with a significant other.
My perspective about the world will have expanded.
The confidence in myself will have grown.
I might be back in school by then.
My family dynamics will have changed.
The clothes in my wardrobe will have smaller sizes.
The style of my hair will be different.
All in one year...
Changes we couldn't have even started to predict for ourselves need to be celebrated, and new dreams require moments to be born in us. Birthdays give us those chances. Rather than seeing birthdays as opportunities for selfish promotion, what if we viewed them as reminders to praise and thank God--for all that happened in the course of the year, and those things yet to come? Plus, let's be honest. God celebrates and sings over the ones He loves, so there's nothing wrong with basking in the love and attention that friends and family choose to dish out on that special day. I mean, the phrase is "happy birthday" for a reason, right? Enjoy yours, whenever it is!