Happy Birthday

Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job 3:1

Yesterday was my birthday. I received lots of birthday wishes on Facebook, a couple of texts, and a birthday lunch right after church.
Unlike Job, I’m glad to celebrate another birthday and I’m pretty sure Job changed his mind by the end of the book that bears his name.

But it got me wondering about birthday celebrations. It’s always been a big deal in my lifetime and probably yours. From what I understand the Egyptians possibly started the tradition, celebrating the coronation of Pharaoh, the day he is considered a “god”.

Therefore, you’ll find the first reference to a birthday involving Pharaoh.

Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants. Then he restored the chief butler to his butlership again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand. But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. Gen 40:20-23

It ended with tragedy for the chief baker – a not so happy birthday.

The next reference to a celebration takes place in the New Testament: But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” Matt 14:6-8
This birthday ends with another tragedy.

Because birthdays were rooted in paganism, Christians did not celebrate them for years, until the birth of Christ was placed on December 25th. With that, Christians began celebrating their own birthdays.
I’m glad they did. I like cake! I think Pharaoh should have kept the Chief Baker around!

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