Birthdays are important at our house. It’s not that we rent out the bouncy houses or big venues, nor do we buy huge expensive presents. Those days are important to honor two people, the one who is turning a year older and the mother who birthed them. It’s easy to get caught up in the fanfare and yet not honor the ones most affected by this day. Our society tends to be all about big events while managing not to truly honor the honoree: think arguments, manipulation, and tears that threaten to ruin a birthday, anniversary, or wedding day.
So how do we honor people? Does it depend on the gifts? Decorations? Money spent? We may feel that we’ve given honor when we make a hefty monetary investment in something, while in reality the spirit of honoring is missing. It depends more on meeting the heart needs of the one being honored.
Does the celebration fit their personality or mine (because I’m the one throwing the party)?
Are their important friends the guests, or are the guests ones I’m comfortable with?
Does the gift, no matter how small, show that the birthday girl is truly known and understood and that her desires are considered in the purchase?
Does the party center on the honoree or are big personalities allowed to steal the limelight?
Is the celebration joyful, the conversation uplifting, and the atmosphere heartwarming, or have we allowed things to creep in that shouldn’t, like snide remarks, negativity, and cruel pranks that may wound a person (all in the name of fun of course – but at whose expense)?
Does the person know that they are honored and valued year ’round as well as on their day?
We have an example of how to love and honor others well, Father God loves and honors each of us individually. When we are with Him we have His sole attention. We are loved unconditionally and accepted and valued for who we are, not based on expectations of what we can offer. He rejoices over us and even sings over us. We are the apple of His eye! Do we allow the Father to teach us to love and honor others well? And personally, do we sit at the Father’s feet and allow Him to love and honor us well when those around us aren’t able to?
I recall one particularly busy year in our household where my birthday was tucked in as an afterthought during the month of November – a notoriously busy holiday time, when birthdays can be easily overlooked. Not only did family find little time, but my friends were all over-committed as well. That birthday came and went as a typical Tuesday might, no special calls, meal, party or presents. Having cake together got pushed to the next weekend, but THIS was my birthday!
I was feeling a bit blue by the evening, so I took some moments to steal away with the Father. As I prayed (whined to Him) and read His word, my heart began to calm down. I saw in His words to me that I was His cherished child. I saw my uniqueness and value in His plan. I saw that though earthly friends may overlook my day, My Father had not. I lay down that night with tears of gratitude that I was known and loved and honored in My Father’s eyes.
If you find yourself forgotten on a special day, go to The One who loves you most. And as you celebrate a special day with those dear to you or casual friends, seek to find ways to let them see that they are known, cherished, and valued. It doesn’t always take fanfare – though that can be nice. Even a single, store-bought cupcake or a heartfelt note can show genuine honor and bless a person’s heart.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.Proverbs 30:30-31