Well today is my Birthday. All in all September 21st is a fairly great day to be born. I share it with Saint Matthew; Earth, Wind and Fire mention it in a fantastic song; and one of my favorite books, the Hobbit, was first published on it. That being said I have often struggled with birthdays. What should I do to celebrate?
On the one hand I love the concept of having a birthdays that is others focused much like the ways that hobbits give gifts to all their friends on their birthdays rather than receiving them. As Tolkien articulated it hobbit’s believed that “giving gifts was a personal matter, not limited to kinship. It was a form of ‘thanksgiving’, and taken as a recognition of services, benefits, and friendship shown, especially in the past year” (Letter #214). In this light birthdays are an occasion for “eucharist” for eucharist is simply the Greek word for thanksgiving. My birthday is a time to recognize all the manifold blessings that I live with every day. It is a day to step back and see the life I have as the gift that it is. It is a time to highlight the locations of grace in my own little realm. It is about honoring friends, family, coworkers and neighbors for the ways they touch my life with beauty.
On the other hand I’m tempted to make it all about ME and just to post my home mailing list and a link to my amazon wish list and hope for the best. In all seriousness though. I am deeply and truly blessed. I have a wife who loves me and makes me a better person. I have 2 boys who have given me more joy then I can imagine. I have friends who are trustworthy, intelligent and fun to be around (many of whom I have met thanks to this blog). I get to study theology at the highest level at the Catholic University of America. I always have good food in my home. I have incredibly creative and intelligent siblings, parents who continue to be my heroes, in-laws who are so much fun to be around, incredibly fun nephews and nieces, and roommates that bring joy and energy into my life. I get to teach people about coffee. I get to write articles that are read by thousands of people and learn new things with an amazing community of online collaborators.
To everyone… thanks. You are the face of God’s love in my life. I can’t tell you the number of ways that I have been blessed. But every day is scattered with moments of grace that you help fill with life and possibilities. I’d love to hear some things you are thankful for today. Let me know in the comments below (it can be your birthday present to me). Here’s to another amazing year! Once again, Thank you.