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Better reason to celebrate

As families grow in number, the list grows. You know? The list. The list of birthdays. Kathy keeps the Edminson family birthday list – as if she needs a written list of names and dates. She remembers all birth dates and can tell you the time when each child and grandchild was born.

August begins a season of birthdays in our family. Grandson Roger’s birthday kicks off the run on August 27. Granddaughter Emmalie celebrates a birthday on September 10, the day my dad was born. Daughter Mary marks her special day on September 18. November 4 is daughter Amie’s birthday. Kathy’s dad celebrates another birthday on November 19. My mom was born on December 9; son-in-law Mark’s birthday is the 12th. My birthday rounds out the year falling three days after Christmas.

When the new year begins, we will make birthday wishes as these blow out their candles: granddaughter Maggie on January 19 and Kathy on the 30th; son-in-law Alan on February 6 and grandson Stuart on the 7th. Daughter Jenny and son Kyle celebrate their special day only days apart – April 9 and 12th respectively. We come full circle in July, celebrating daughter-in-law Susan on the 26th and remembering Kathy’s mom on the 31st. I anticipate more birthdays will be added as our family continues to grow. Maybe, we can fill in those open months.

It is estimated that more than 350,000 babies are born each day around the world. In 2015, 120,843 babies were born in North Carolina. For each baby, a calendar day marks the birth.

Celebrating birthdays is important because it is more than celebrating a day. It is an occasion to celebrate the person. Our family, like yours, gives thanks for the gift of loved ones. These people make our lives sweet and full. They are valuable to us...and to God.

Kathy and I remember the spiritual birthdays of our children, those moments when we became “joint heirs,” brothers and sisters in Christ. Ordinary moments – during a revival, a summer camp, Vacation Bible School, in the presence of a loved one – turn into extraordinary moments of saving grace worthy of remembrance and celebration. The joy and gratefulness we feel in these times are too great to recount in words.

Jesus said there are two births. The first is birth from our mothers. That is the physical birth. The second is a spiritual birth. Jesus said without the spiritual birth – born from above, of the Spirit – one cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Recently, cheers filled the room as a teen celebrated her birthday among her Kennedy Home “family.” The crowd sang and voiced their good wishes. Later that day, the girl made an announcement. Amidst the joy of her special day, a new and even better reason to celebrate came about – this young lady shared her decision to accept Jesus as her Lord – born and now born again.

As you can imagine, the celebration went viral when even the angels in glory rejoiced.

Thanks be to our Heavenly Father for the calendar days that mark special events in our lives, the physical dates of birth and the spiritual birthdays we celebrate.

Have you experienced your spiritual birth? If so, pause with me now; take a few minutes to remember the event that brought you into a bigger family. If not, today could be your “born again” day. Ask Jesus into your heart.

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