We do birthdays big and long in my family. It’s a cause to celebrate the gift of having you in our lives. You get signs hung from the ceiling, special privileges, presents and lots of cake…depending on the number and times you celebrate with friends and family, it could be more parties and cakes than just one.
Two special men in my life celebrated the big 2-5 this week. A quarter of a century on this planet. It sounds like a lot, only because it is! But in retrospect, it seems like it passed so quickly. I have another friend anticipating another kind of birthday – one where he is being released from incarceration into freedom. Another is experiencing a re-birth from addiction into sobriety. Another just had a valve replaced in his heart and is experiencing a new birth by way of a literal new lease on life. Yet another is slowly being released from a mental hold that has bound her for years. These are all MAJOR causes for celebration!!! And I am not one to pass up a good celebration. 😊
The most major reason of all to celebrate a birthday, is when a person is born AGAIN!! Now this is one topic that can get even gregarious people to shrink back, put up their guard and think “here come the kooks.” I think people feel this way because the statement is unnatural. The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church that even the Lord understands this confusion because God Himself says: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (I Cor 1:19) Just as the wise and studied Nicodemus of the Bible asked “How can someone be born again when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4) Jesus answers “truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again… [nor] enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” (vv.3,5)
Being born again is what Jesus describes as not a physical birth (that of breaking water), but one where we accept Him as our Lord and Savior and are thus delivered from death to life. Apart from Jesus is eternal death. Realizing His love for us and accepting His sacrifice for us gives us new eternal life with Jesus, our Creator. This perpetual fellowship and closeness with Jesus is His gift of His Holy Spirit that comes to reside in us at the moment of our acceptance of Him. Crazy, right?! But incredible! What other religion speaks of a deity who desires such a close relationship that He wants to live inside of you? None! Our belief and acceptance of Him have no bearing on the fact that He is in all and through all things, but His Spirit isn’t inside of us until we ask Him. He doesn’t force Himself on anyone. Revelation 3:20 says, “behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him”.
Once we open the door of our heart to Jesus, He describes the PARTY IN HEAVEN that follows! “I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents”! (Luke 15:10) Talk about a celebration! Have you ever been in any kind of arena with people cheering and going crazy over a sporting event, a singer or band, a speaker or political figure? It can be deafening and exciting and contagious! Heaven is far bigger than any arena and the sound of joy coming from there can only be imagined. If that celebration hasn’t occurred for you, yet, because you are still mulling over the crazy confusion of who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him, please pray to Him for clarity, and reach out to someone who can help shed some light for you. The party for you is waiting. And for those of you whose party has happened, celebrate on!!