As we try to conform our lives to how we believe the Bible says we are to live, it has been decided in our household that we will no longer celebrate the anniversaries of people’s births (birthdays) in the ways we have in the past (cards, gifts, etc.) for the following reasons:
- There is no precedent in the Bible for them for Christians: they’re not commanded, and there are no examples of Christians celebrating them in the Bible.
- The only direct references to birthday celebrations in the Bible are done by people who are pagans: Pharaoh’s birthday in Gen 40:20-22, on which day he had the baker hanged; and Herod’s birthday in Matt 14:6-10, on which day he had John the Baptist beheaded.
- We believe birthdays are very man focused.
- As with all of the 1-day affairs during the year (such as Father’s or Mother’s, Christmas, etc.), it seems to us that a birthday gives people an excuse to not be generous and honoring (Ex 20:12) throughout the year; and it requires that you do something, or supposedly that indicates that you don’t love the person — a person shouldn’t have to know whether you love them or not based on whether you give them a card on a prescribed day. Honestly, what would a family member or someone close friend think if they were just ignored on their birthday, Father’s or Mother’s Day?
Although we have truly appreciated all of the kindness and generosity we have received in the past, we have asked that things not be sent to us on our birthdays either. And just to be clear, I just want to clarify that our intent is not that we want stopped all card/gift/etc. giving if one feels led to do that, or that we wouldn’t be doing those things, or even that we wouldn’t appreciate them. We have just asked that these not be associated with our birthdays.
Although we won’t be participating in typical birthday traditions, the date is still a marker, which we plan on at least acknowledging. For the same reason as #4, we will not be participating in the traditional Father’s/Mother’s Day days either.
Some have mentioned Job 1:4, where the sons and daughters of Job celebrated “every one his day,” as a positive instance of celebrating birthdays. Here are some comments regarding that:
- Given this was a birthday feast, these were apparently somber and sober celebrations, as shown by the brothers inviting their virtuous sisters, which they wouldn’t have done if reveling.
- These celebrations were apparently family gatherings only, and family houses, and is probably mentioned to show the harmony and happiness of the siblings in contrast to what happens to the family later.
- It appears Job wasn’t even there.
- In vs 5, Job is worried about them sinning during these celebrations, it would seem likely because of the possibility and maybe even likelihood of doing things during them that were sinful.
May we be cautiously aware of what the Bible says about man, that “[our] thoughts are not [His] thoughts, neither are [His] ways [our] ways” (Isa 55:8); that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9); that “there is a way which seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 14:12, 16:25); and that “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction” (Matt 7:13).
A lot of what we are doing here has to do with how we view our own hearts and what our own consciences are saying to us (Acts 23:1; 24:16). We don’t trust our own hearts and minds to lead us very well because of the heart and mind conditions I mentioned above. And so, we try to look for guidance to the one place we know to be true, the Bible. Where the Bible is silent, we are left to our consciences, which we pray are led by the Holy Spirit, although with birthdays the Bible’s not completely silent (Pharaoh and Herod). Still, scaling back this area helps us focus less on ourselves and is consistent with our personal worldview of separation from the world and what we see as its traditions, a more blended life-style (where things are less compartmentalized; for example, done on a certain day), and simplicity. Things in the Bible can be seen differently; however, if there is a truth to be found and had, we believe it is our responsibility to seek it out until we find it and be able to back up the beliefs we hold and things we do with Scripture as best as we can. All of these things mentioned in this paragraph we strive for asking for God to help and guide us.
And finally, is celebrating birthdays more aligned with what Christ did here on earth, or the following:
Here is from “The Satanic Bible” by Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan:
The highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birth. This is in direct contradiction to the holy of holy days of other religions, which deify a particular god who has been created in an anthropomorphic form of their own image, thereby showing that the ego is not really buried.
The Satanist feels: “Why not really be honest and if you are going to create a god in your image, why not create that god as yourself.” Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one. So, the Satanist celebrates his own birthday as the most important holiday of the year. After all, aren’t you happier about the fact that you were born than you are about the birth of someone you have never even met? Or for that matter, aside from religious holidays, why pay higher tribute to the birthday of a president or to a date in history than we do to the day we were brought into this greatest of all worlds?
Despite the fact that some of us may not have been wanted, or at least were not particularly planned, we’re glad, even if no one else is, that we’re here! You should give yourself a pat on the back, buy yourself whatever you want, treat yourself like the king (or god) that you are, and generally celebrate your birthday with as much pomp and ceremony as possible.