As Christians, we aim to continuously evaluate ourselves by biblical standards rather than by societal norms. As a result, some Christians have questioned whether they should celebrate birthdays as a cultural norm.
Is it permissible for Christians to observe birthdays? The short answer is yes, Christians are allowed to celebrate their birthday if they want to.
Nothing in Scripture forbids it, and there is no reason to conclude that birthday celebrations are unwise or go against God’s will.
Christians should feel free to celebrate their birthdays in a manner that is pleasing to God though. It is not a day where you get a free pass on being sinful.
There are a few Christians who do believe that birthdays are sinful, and if you are one of these people that is ok.
Let’s take a deep dive into the bible to see what the scripture says about celebrating birthdays.
The Bible On Birthdays
Here are a few verses that mention birthdays, or discuss celebrating life as a whole, and how this can relate to celebrating your birthday.
- “This is the day that Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” – Psalms 118:24
According to the Bible, we should delight in the day the Lord has created. We should rejoice in life since it was created by God.
Each new day that the Lord bestows upon us should be appreciated since God breathed life into our lungs and endowed us with the capacity to participate and experience life.
The Bible does not mandate us to commemorate our birthdays annually, but it does command us to give gratitude to God.
- “The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God” – Romans 14:6
We should take advantage of every opportunity while we are still living and savor each day. God asks us to be wise with our lives and efficient with our time, bit to make sure that we are enjoying each day we are given.
- “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil” – Ephesians 5:15
Because the Bible contains no mandate requiring us to celebrate our birthdays annually and also does not forbid it, individuals have the right to choose whether or not to celebrate their birthdays.
You Can Celebrate If You Want To
The Bible makes no mention for or against birthday celebrations.
When we think about birthdays, we frequently anticipate gatherings and having a good time with the people we care about.
When it comes to celebrating, some people use the saying “eat, drink, and be merry,” which means that we should take pleasure in life and have a good time. However, this phrase is used incorrectly in the Bible on occasion.
Ecclesiastes 8 states, “I commend the enjoyment of life because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.”
What does this mean? Is this to indicate that Solomon, the author of this part of scripture, advocates for a carefree, moment-by-moment way of life? No.
Indeed, a few pages above this sentence talk about Solomon promoting virtue and warning against evil. “I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them.”
This means that fearing and reverencing Him is more important than desiring anything that may lead to sin. Having pleasure and celebrating life should be done in a way that honors God.
Jesus makes frequent allusions to the fact that we are to be drunk by the Holy Spirit, not alcohol.
Having said that, Jesus delighted and joined in on the festivities. His first miracle occurred during a wedding feast, which he also attended. Jewish weddings were frequently multi-day banquets of food and wine.
Jesus participated in a variety of festivals, all of which were handled in a way that reflected God’s glory. He did, however, advise against the dangers of “living in the moment” and against excessive wine drinking.
When it came to birthday celebrations, in particular, Jesus never debated whether they were beneficial or detrimental.
Celebrating The Right Way
Birthdays can be celebrated, so long as you don’t behave counter to God’s will. It would be enjoyable to place a bigger focus on others’ birthdays than on one’s own, and perhaps to consider what you could do for them instead.
God invites us to celebrate, and God desires our mutual support and encouragement. If we desire to celebrate someone’s birthday, we should first express our gratitude to God for creating them.
We should be eternally grateful for God’s wondrous gift of life. He provides us with everything we need to have a happy life.
Here are a few more Bible verses that we can use to understand how to celebrate in the right way.
- “Nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything since he gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” – Acts 17:25
It’s important to look after our friends and family members and to indicate how much their lives mean to us.
Whether it’s every day by making a conscious effort to show how much you care about the people you love, or by hosting a celebration, anybody can exhibit their love for their friends and family. As Christians, we must support one another.
- “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” – 1 Corinthians 12:27
The key point is to constantly prioritize God, and just like the early Christians did, commit your life to Gospel and to pleasing God. The early Christians created an environment that encouraged, rebuked, challenged, and strengthened one another’s faith.
We should follow suit. The greatest commandment is to first love God with all our hearts and then our neighbors as ourselves. We are Christ’s body, and we should conduct ourselves appropriately.
Birthdays In The Bible
Some Christians are against celebrating birthdays, even though the bible does not forbid this celebration.
This is because when finding accounts of birthdays in the bible, the ones that are mentioned are the birthdays of Pharaohs, Kings, and other bad people. Here are some examples.
- “On Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much” – Matthew 14:6
- “On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee” – Mark 6:21
- “Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials” – Genesis 40:20
This is a particularly bad birthday in the bible. It is the first birthday that is mentioned in scripture and describes the Pharaoh planning a huge feast to celebrate his birthday. In the middle of the celebration, he had his chief baker hanged.
Nowhere in the bible does the Lord forbid the celebration of birthdays, but he also does not say that it is acceptable. This means that it is down to a person’s own choice and preference, though either way, you will not be committing any sin.