I have, in the past, and will again this year, quote a section from one of my favorite books, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit by Henri J.M. Nouwen, a Canadian theologian who died in 1996. (Copyright 1994, published by The Crossroad Publishing Company.)
I share this passage about birthdays, not only for my sake but, I hope, for yours as well:
Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: “Thank you for being you.” Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: “Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.” No, we say: “Thank you for being born and being among us.”
Celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life, and in this spirit, we really need to celebrate people’s birthdays every day, by showing gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and affection. These are ways of saying: “It’s good that you are alive; it’s good that you are walking with me on this earth. Let’s be glad and rejoice. This is the day that God has made for us to be and to be together.