From Good Ol' Henri Nouwen today (sign up for his daily letter - soooo good):
"Birthdays are so important. On our birthdays we celebrate being alive. On our birthdays people can say to us, "Thank you for being!" Birthday presents are signs of our families' and friends' joy that we are part of their lives. Little children often look forward to their birthdays for months. Their birthdays are their big days, when they are the center of attention and all their friends come to celebrate.
We should never forget our birthdays or the birthdays of those who are close to us. Birthdays keep us childlike. They remind us that what is important is not what we do or accomplish, not what we have or who we know, but that we are, here and now. On birthdays let us be grateful for the gift of life."
As one gets of a certain age, birthdays lose their charm. You dread the "how old are you?" questions, the jokes about how many candles should be on your cake and how they might set off the smoke alarms, the look in the mirror that morning and noticing some random hair or spot or wrinkle that you were sure wasn't there before...
But you know what? My birthday this year was GREAT. Just absolutely loved it. As I lay in bed last night feeling all warm and happy about it, I couldn't have told you why, other than how lovely it was to be with people I adore and receive sweet hello's and greetings throughout the day. But Nouwen's quote this morning put words to it. I felt like I did when I was a little kid, simply enjoying the bounty of love and blessings and attention. For one day, it's pretty great. And overall, I am tremendously, ridiculously, gloriously blessed. Thank you Lord.
I read this in my prayer time this morning. They put words to my joy in a deeper way:
1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD :
"O LORD, save me!"
5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living...
12 How can I repay the LORD
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the LORD.
P.S. Here are some of the goodies I got -- some were given, some I bought with birthday money. Fun to share. Deep thanks to many for making my day wonderful: