Since childhood, I have preferred a few close relationships over many superficial ones. Media platforms such as Facebook are too big for me. Too intimidating, and too artificial. Nevertheless, realizing the times, I try.
“Birthday blessings,” I typed on a Facebook friend’s page the other day. I regretted it immediately. I usually don’t post birthday greetings. I dislike scattering cliched words. But while I’d love to, I rarely have time to reflect long enough to offer something individually meaningful.
Years ago, in this column, I published a birthday greeting I’d written for my daughter, then in college. A long-time reader recently told me she clipped and copied that column. “I’ve sent it to friends on their birthdays for years!” she added. Her words reminded me again how time has changed the way we greet people. Ready or not, social media greetings have become, for many, the norm. While ultra-convenient, well-intended and still welcome, I regret that. I miss the warm, well-considered greetings once common among close friends and family, offered either in person, over the phone, or through written cards and messages.
I confess: I have boxes of good intentions—cards I want to send and haven’t made time for. I also have boxes of cards I’ve received. Gorgeous cards, many handmade. I’ve let most go, and limited space demands I part with more soon. For now, my collection reminds me of people who considered our friendship worth the effort, cost and time it took to choose and pay for (or make), sign and send a card. Those that hold hand-written personal messages still warm me.
Recognizing we can’t reverse time or trends, I’ve written a new greeting. If you find it meaningful, feel free to share it either online or in a card. (This column will be on my website, and can be easily shared from there.)
Each birthday is a gift. A time to take inventory of what’s behind and make plans for what’s ahead. A nudge to be grateful to God, who has seen us through each challenge and every opportunity, and those who have encouraged and helped us get here.
I pray the year ahead includes experiences that make you seek God, and others that make you praise God. Moments that raise hope and laughter, lower stress and blood pressure. New thoughts to ponder deeply and consider long. Something good to anticipate, someone to hug (who’ll hug you back) and someone to serve with joy.
I hope you see exquisite sights, experience challenges met and jobs well-completed. May you hear beloved voices in greeting, savor cherished memories and experience purposeful activities. I pray you the reminder that you are greatly loved and much needed. And I pray you strength for each day and hope for every tomorrow.
May you sense God ever-present, Jesus beside and the Holy Spirit within. All these birthday blessings and more, I pray for you, with love.