Today marks a very special day. Today is the 164th birthday of Herman Bavinck. If Dr. Bavinck were with us today, he would, in fact, be the oldest person alive. It also marks the birthday of my father and one of my cousins (I won’t give their ages as they are a little more particular about the world knowing how old they are).
There is something about celebrating a birthday that is both a wonderful and somewhat odd experience. I mean, we celebrate our coming into the world. Something that we had no decision in and no control over. At the same time, we celebrate the way in which we have grown and changed during the course of the year. The older I get the more introspective I become on my birthday. I think more about where I have been and where I am going.
This introspection turns to other as I think about celebrating the birthdays of the people that I love. That introspection usually motivates to thankfulness; thankfulness that these people are in my life and the way in which they have formed me. Even someone like Herman Bavinck, who though being dead for almost 100 years now, still influences my thought and my formation as a man, a Christian, and a theologian. I am drawn to thankfulness for my dad who from early years showed me the importance of working hard to both provide for and care for my family (on top of a hundreds of other lessons).
Celebrating a birthday is odd. We didn’t choose to be born when we did or where we did. However, in many ways, a birthday is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to consider the providences of God. Some of those providences may be hard others not. Yet, a birthday is an opportunity to consider those providences and to wrestle with them. Perhaps in the midst of that introspection still finding it hard to hear Paul’s admonition:
Give thanks in all circumstances… — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Yet, a birthday provides us the opportunity to consider it again. A birthday provides us the opportunity to sing with a myriad of Christians.
Through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come. T'was grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home, and grace will lead us home.