Today, January 20th, 2014, would have been my father’s 86th birthday. As many of you know, four weeks ago my father’s spirit left this planet for heaven and he is now in the presence of the One he loved, the One for whom he lived, his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Are birthdays celebrated in heaven? I don’t know; but I do know this! Of all the gifts Dad ever received on his birthday, there are none that compare to what he is experiencing today. Talk about a celebration! “Praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” (Psalm 150:1-6)
Dad may not be physically here, but his spirit lives on . . . and there’s nothing preventing me from joining with him in the celebration! I can almost hear the music! “He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him!” (Exodus 15:2)
As I reminisce about my father’s earthly birthday celebrations, I have to smile. Dad was famous for taking forever to open a gift! When he was handed a brightly wrapped package, he’d set the gift on his lap and study it, grinning. Then he might hold the gift up to the light, softly shake it, or run his hands over it, feeling for any unusual bumps or edges. Surrounded by an audience of expectant family members, he would then begin the process of slowly, excruciatingly removing each piece of scotch tape . . . being ever so careful not to rip or mar the wrapping paper in any way. When the last piece of tape was removed, he would slowly lift up one corner of the wrapping paper, peak inside . . . and look up at his audience with another grin. Finally, he’d reveal the gift much to our delight . . . and relief!
Dad took great pleasure in the joy of opening a gift. There was no rush to “get on with it”, but rather, he did all he could to savor, prolong, and enjoy the moment. In a similar way, we are surrounded by gifts to be savored and enjoyed that have been created by our heavenly Father for our pleasure. Think about it. Many of the things we see and hear are gifts to us, products of God’s wonderful creative hand. As small as a tiny flower or as grand as a mountain, as lovely as the song of a bird or the sound of a soft summer rain, His gifts are there, waiting to be seen and appreciated and to speak to us in individual, God-designed ways. But, too often we move through life with blinders on, flying along at warp speed, trying to complete all of our many tasks, rushing through our days so quickly we don’t think about creation or our Creator, let alone sit back, relish and enjoy his gifts . . . and Him.
Psalm 71:8 says: “Just as each day brims with your beauty, my mouth brims with praise.”
So take a lesson from my Dad. Slow down. Savor the moment. And truly enjoy “opening the gifts” God has given you. He’ll watch with pleasure.
— Cheri Henderson