Blog: June 2023 - Birthdays
I do love the month of June, not just because it’s my birthday month but because the days are at their longest and often warmest and sunniest. I love being able to go out for walks in the evenings when its light for so long, but also remember days of revising and taking summer exams in the heat - and we remember in our prayers all those who are taking exams this June at schools, colleges and universities.
But I’ve also been thinking of birthdays having had our first grandchildren born in the last few months. Henry in Australia born in the ‘winter’ last August - we had a wonderful time with him in the ‘summer’ in January (!); and Orlando born in April in East London whom we are seeing more often!
What we call our ‘Birthdays’ should be called ‘Anniversaries of our Birthdays’ - but this is a mouthful, so we have evolved to calling them just our annual ‘Birthdays’ and ‘anniversary’ is used for other annual reminders of special events in our lives.
New birth is a key fact for Christians. Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be ‘born again’ leading to the phrase used over the centuries ‘born again Christians’, denoting not just someone brought up and always part of the Christian community, but someone who never had been or who rejected this and comes to a new experience and acceptance by faith of God’s love in Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
Whilst we need to be sensitive with the old saying ‘its easier to give birth than raise the dead’ – especially as I write as a man albeit being at the birth of our 4 children and knowing what our daughters in law have recently gone through – we do believe in a God of new life and hope and new starts as we’ve been celebrating at Easter.
St Peter writes in the Bible:
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you’
Jesus calls us with the opportunity to begin our lives anew – which is why we have words of confession and forgiveness in our services – and by belief, faith and trust in Him to have a new spiritual and lasting birth in His name.
As I look forward to celebrating the anniversary of my birthday each June; I also look forward to celebrating the anniversary of my baptism in August. But I also remember the anniversary of when I gave my life to Jesus in service to Him in February 1980 when I was in the 6th Form. That is a new birthday that lasts me through this life and into all eternity.
So as you wish me ‘Happy Birthday’ in June we remember that the date of our physical birth is not the only birthday we can celebrate. We can begin a new life – be born again’ by faith and trust in Jesus by His holy Spirit anytime!