My Birthday

19 Feb 2011

Today is my birthday.  I am 36 years old and I have never celebrated my birthday, not one childhood party, not one special dinner, not one night out for drinks with friends, not even a birthday call from my parents.  If one of my parents happened to call on my birthday it was a moot point unless I said something and which would be replied with a quick, “oh is that today”.  That would be the extent of that subject.

Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness it’s just one more thing that is/was taboo.  JW’s don’t celebrate birthdays because, just like most other celebrations and holidays, it has its origins in pagan traditions.  In fact early Christians didn’t celebrate Jesus’ birthday or any birthdays for that matter because it was a ritual only followed by pagans.  Even the birthday cake has its beginnings in non-Christian beliefs.  And of course there was always the explanation all good JW boys and girls will spout if questioned; you should only bring glory and honor to God and not yourself and the only time the Bible mentions birthday celebrations was in reference to pagans celebrating it.  The first mention is of a Pharaoh in Genesis 40:20 and the other was King Herod in Matthew 14:6-13.  In both instances people were murdered as part of the celebration, including John the Baptist who was beheaded and then had his head served on a platter.  Repeating this little tidbit of biblical information did wonders for my popularity in grade school.

I remember when I had recently moved schools during third grade and my new school “friend” (I say “friend” because Witnesses aren’t really suppose to have close friends outside the faith but that’s a whole other post) had handed me an invitation to her birthday party.  I quickly and valiantly spewed out my biblical and moral standing on the matter, proudly proclaiming my faith, making sure that everyone within a five foot radius could would hear every detail, especially the part where the very man that baptized Jesus had his head cut off and served up on a silver platter.  Her 8 year old eyes stared back at me in slight shock and quietly informed me that they most definitely wouldn’t be murdering anyone at her party.

Yes, this scene played out a couple more times but it didn’t take long before everyone in school knew that I was that weird Jehovah’s Witness kid that doesn’t celebrate anything.  I never did get another invitation after that.

Growing up as a JW you just don’t know any different and are brought up to really wear those beliefs like a badge of honor.  If anyone ridicules you or says anything in opposition about it, you just take it as an affirmation of being persecuted for following and honoring the only true God, knowing you will finally be compensated in the end with everlasting life in paradise.

Then one day you turn 36 or 33 or 18 or whatever age it is that you find yourself on a different path, questioning all that you’ve been taught to believe to be the absolute truth.  You wonder, humm, shouldn’t all life be celebrated?  Doesn’t everyone deserve to feel special for at least one day out of the year? If there is a god out there whose supremacy seriously feels threatened by my observation and jubilation of the day I was born, then I think he’s a total douchebag!

So even if there is no one else to sing it for me…“Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…”

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