As in most things in life, my childhood is probably to blame. It might be that as a twin I always shared my birthday with someone else. Or maybe I was born too early – before the age of blow-out birthday parties (you know, rent-a-clowns and hot air balloons; we were pretty much stuck with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey). Besides, a September birthday usually meant that we received back-to-school clothes for birthday presents.
Whatever the reason, I know for sure that “receiving gifts” is not my primary love languague. My long-suffering family knows all too well my lack of fluency in receiving (and giving) gifts.
Most years I am glad when September 21 rolls around and we’re done with the birthday stuff for another 365 days.
But in recent years, there’s one thing about my birthday that I love. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg. I love a Facebook birthday. For those of you non-conformist and anti-social types who don’t have a Facebook account, here’s how it works. When you start a Facebook page you create a profile that may include your favorite movies and books, where you went to high school and your birthday. Mark Zuckerberg ruthlessly and cynically mines this information to sell custom placed advertizing on your home page. But it helps old high school classmates find you and friends and family to wish you happy birthday.
I’m not much interested in the old high school classmates part of Facebook, but I love a Facebook birthday. On a Facebook birthday you wake up to the well-wishes of your early rising or living on another continent friends. As the day unfolds, the west coast checks in and others who see birthday greetings posted on your timeline add their “happy birthday” as well.
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t know it, but a Facebook birthday is a little means of grace. Through the Facebook birthday wishes of friends and family I hear God saying that I am loved and that my life makes a difference. Of course, the posts by Becky and our kids are in a category by themselves, and, you Facebook friends who bother to look at my timeline, those in Portuguese touch my heart in a place only they can touch, but every single post from a two word “happy birthday” to something more is as precious as some silver foil wrapped present with a big bow on top.
God has blessed me with friends. Very specifically and very particularly God has blessed my life with friends, LPC friends and many more. More than my share. He has used and continues to use those friendships as a means by which I learn to glorify and enjoy him. Forever.
Yes, I’ll be just as happy when September 21 rolls around. But for now, thank God for a Facebook birthday. Really, thank God for friends, a means of grace.