Birthdays are important. Our birth celebrates our entrance into this world and our birthdays are public acknowledgement of our progression through life. Some birthdays are deemed more important than others (‘significant’ birthdays like 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 80 and so on…!), but all are crucial to our ongoing life.

Believe it or not, the ritual of the birthday box is not intended to humiliate or to publicly make a fool of anyone; it’s an acknowledgement of the value of each member of the congregation and a celebration of the fact that we live and worship together in community, not in isolation. So your birthday is important to me, because our lives are inextricably bound together in all Christ has done for us. As we sing ‘Happy Birthday’, including the verse ‘May the dear Lord bless you from the morning to the evening’, we are not just trying to prolong the agony of standing in front of people feeling ungainly or awkward. We are actually wanting to communicate that you matter to us, that you’re part of us, that we care about your ongoing existence, that you matter to God.

So, happy birthday, Karen!