My dear husband celebrated a milestone birthday in December. I’m not saying which one, but it begins with a number between 4 and 6 and ends with a 0. <grin> When we celebrated Harold’s last birthday that ended in a 0, we had a quiet celebration as a family. This time I wanted friends and family to join me to honor Harold and celebrate the impact he has had in the lives of many people. Harold arrived at church that night, expecting to attend a Christmas party for a ministry team that he oversees. Instead he found more than 80 people yelling, “Surprise!” My husband, who usually figures out everything, was literally speechless. (In 20 years of marriage, I’ve never seen Harold speechless!)
It was everything I had hoped for—and more. Harold greeted his guests— his parents, his brother and family from out of town, the pastors and staff of our church where Harold serves, and a myriad of friends who came to honor a man who had impacted their life. Instead of gifts, I asked that each guest bring only the gift of words of encouragement and blessing.
After some munchies, the crowd quieted to watch a Powerpoint presentation with pictures of Harold’s first fifty years (baby pictures and all!). I had asked a few men to speak—one of his spiritual sons, his brother, and his dad. Each told of their love for my dear husband and what his life means to them.
Lastly, I had asked our lead pastor to close out with a prayer of blessing. He asked that Harold’s parents and the girls and I join Harold, who was standing in the front, and said that instead of praying a blessing, he felt that God would have Harold’s parents bless him. There were few dry eyes after Harold’s mother and father prayed sweet and passionate prayers to bless their oldest son. I believe it was a precious moment in the heavenlies, where God used the human voices of loved ones to say to His son, “You are my precious son and I’m so pleased.”
Birthdays should be the celebration of a life, an individual who was uniquely designed by God and chosen to be part of His plan. You don’t have to throw a party or spend a lot of money to honor someone. For my 40th birthday, my mom orchestrated a long-distance birthday celebration. I received more than 40 birthday cards of blessing from friends and family. My friend Esther, who inspired me to write blessings for pregnant moms and their unborn babies, writes birthday blessings each year for the children of her friends. She wrote a blessing for Harold for his birthday. Another family has a “Birthday Tape” for each child. Each year they add to the tape and record a birthday prayer for the child. Of course with new technologies, you could do a Birthday CD or DVD. Ask God to give you creative ideas that will bless your family.
This year, as you celebrate birthdays with family and friends, be sure to include the element of blessing. Look for opportunities to bless your husband, your children, and your friends. Let God use your hand to write words of life or your voice to speak His words of love. Make it a birthday to remember.