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What the Bible Says About Birthdays | Keep God in Life

In the Bible, there is nothing indicating whether we should or should not celebrate birthdays; there is nothing prohibiting it and nothing requiring it. There are, however, two examples of individuals celebrating birthdays: King Pharaoh in the time of Joseph, and King Herod in the time of Jesus. Here are the verses:

On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. - Genesis 40:20

But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. - Mark 6:21

While some point to these verses and believe that because both men are non-believers, that birthdays shouldn't be celebrated, this conclusion cannot be drawn from these verses alone. There is not even a hint that it was wrong for Herod or Pharaoh to celebrate their birthdays, nor does the Bible discourage it anywhere. 

What matters more than whether or not a Christian celebrates birthdays is how they glorify the Lord. If he or she throws a birthday party, is it a reflection of God or a reflection of the world, filled with sin? If a Christian chooses to skip a birthday celebration, how are they filling that time, with Christ-glorifying activities, or with sinful actions?

Whether or not one decides to celebrate their birthday, they should strive to keep a clear conscience and hold love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. Those who choose not to celebrate birthdays should not hold anger toward those who do, and the same goes for vice versa. As with Halloween and other gray areas in Scripture, we as humans are given the freedom of choice: the freedom to celebrate, the freedom not to, but with either decision, we should do it in a way that glorifies God.

Another birthday celebration worth discussing is the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Since Thanksgiving is wrapping up, there's no doubt that you've started to see Christmas lights go up in yards and nativity scenes pop up at churches. December is a month very closely aligned with the birth of Jesus, but it brings up a question: is there Scripture showing celebrations of Jesus' birth in the early days of Christianity? There are not. Does that make celebrating or not celebrating it sinful? Let's break it down.

First of all, Jesus was born in the month of either March or September, and this conclusion can be led to from a few points in scripture. In Luke 1:35-36, it's stated that John the Baptist came into this earth six months before Jesus. He was conceived while his father, Zacharias, a priest, was serving at the temple, called a "course." They would be assigned to work twice a year in two week stretches (six month rotations). Zacharias served underneath the Course of Abijah (shown in Luke 1:5-8).

The Course of Abijah was the eighth division, meaning Zacharias served sixteen weeks after the start of the Jewish year (around March) and then for another two weeks six months later. John's mother conceived sometime in either June or December, and John was birthed in either March or September. Since Jesus was born six months after John the Baptist, that means he was born in either March or September.

Back to the question of whether celebrating a day is sinful, ask yourself one question: Am I disrespecting God by setting this day apart? If this day revolves around presents and cake, you're not adversely messing with your relationship with God. However, if this is a day spent worshipping false gods and indulging in sinful actions, then a problem is presented.

Back in the first century, Jewish and Gentile Christians both celebrated special days on their calendar, just as we do. Though we may continue to make certain days special, we are not necessarily harming our relationship with the Lord by doing so.

If you want to make your birthday or Christ's birthday special, go for it. You have the freedom to celebrate it how you choose, just celebrate with a reflection of God.

What if you choose not to celebrate the birth of Christ? That's okay too. What matters is not setting a specific day to glorify God, but whether you give glory regardless of whether the day is special.

If you are looking for a birthday gift for your good Christian friends, take a look at these sterling silver necklace ideas sure to make their day memorable.

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