You may or may not know (because I don't really tell people when it's coming), but last Monday was my birthday. Now I'm not bothered about getting older, as far as I'm concerned the more years the better and I would like to embrace every year I'm blessed with, but I really feel funny about making a deal out of my birthday. It kind of just feels a bit of an arbitrary reason for people to make a fuss. It's not like I've done anything impressive or deserving, I almost feel like I would be imposing a celebration on other people, especially if the birthday doesn't end in a 0! I love my family and friends, and I love thinking of things to give them or write in a card when it's their birthdays. However, it just feels like if I let people know that my birthday is coming up, then I'm asking them to do the same for me, when really there's no need. This may sound really cynical, or like false humility, but honestly that's not it, I'm just quite content to let birthdays pass by quietly.
Not everybody in this house feels that way though! I'd planned to just have a quiet evening with Mum and Dad and two close friends on the Sunday evening, and then go to a film with a couple of girl friends on the day (although that was as much because my housemate and I just really wanted to see Into the Woods, and we're so rarely both free at the same time). But unbeknowns to me, my (lovely) housemate abused her position of knowledge to invite lots of friends along to join us for food and the film! I was so shocked when I recognised a couple of dancing people where we were going, that I turned to the other Bethan and said, 'Oh look Stephanie and Sarah are eating here too', assuming that they were there for their own reasons. It didn't cross my mind that even though neither of them live in Swansea that they might have made the effort just for me until they started singing and handing me cards/presents! It was so sweet and I was thrilled and so touched that they were there for me, and I hadn't even been the one to impose my birthday on them, Beth was!
And then two days later, I was going round to house group - who Beth had also spilled the beans to that it had been my birthday - and they made a fuss of me too! I got a lovely card with messages (and fivers!) from everyone inside, some other really sweet gifts and cards, two more homemade cakes (which then made four altogether including the ones made by my housemate and my Mum!) and a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday. Now I'm not normally one to go all shy, but I'm pretty sure I went red in the face and a bit lost for words! Again, I would never have asked anyone to go to any trouble, but it was so lovely and thoughtful that they had, I was well chuffed!
So will I be publicising my birthday next year, or have the date public on facebook? Probably not. Do I feel deserving of such kindness and nice surprises? Not really. But am I grateful? Absolutely. You can never have too many reminders of what grace looks like. So if the way people treat you on your birthday is a hint of the overflowing, unmerited and unexpected goodness God graciously shares with me, then God just got even more lovely in my eyes. Now that's something worth celebrating.