Birthdays and Gifts

It is my birthday today. I am 31 years old. 31! That is very hard for some to believe considering people usually take me for a teenager. Honestly. Upon learning that I am a youth director, I’ve had people say, “Wow, I thought you were one of the kids.” But, as we all know, looks can be deceiving.
I’ve always wondered, but never did the research, as to why it is that we are given gifts on our birthdays. “Hooray, I was born. Give me gifts.” Maybe it started with Jesus’ birth. I mean he was given gold, incense, and myrrh from the 3 wise men (Matt 2:11). I understand that today is all about celebrating my birth, but why do we turn that celebration into a gift giving splurge? Do we really need gifts to celebrate? And what happens when I don’t get what I want, or expect?
This is why the older you get the more lame birthdays get; they’re never as good as they used to be. (I suppose that’s not completely true. I’ve had some great birthday celebrations in recent years thanks to some great friends. But it’s true in the sense that you don’t get as many toys.)
I’m not trying to put a negative spin on birthdays. I like birthdays. I enjoy the parties, and the cake, and friends, gifts, etc. But they do seem to be less of a “celebration of life day” and more of a “hey spend lots of money on me day.” Selfish really. If I ever have kids, I’m really going to need to think through how I want to celebrate their birthdays.
So where’s the line between celebration and gift giving? Does our receiving of gifts year after year have a negative impact on our ability to live self-less (rather than self-ish) Christian lives? Maybe it’s just me being sardonic again, but birthdays seem a little selfish.
Food for thought.
Well anyway, now it’s off to Starbucks to claim my free birthday drink J

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