Surprises spice up birthdays – but birthday itself is the message that life is a gift

“Happy Birthday!” is like the “sound of music” ringing joyfully in the celebrant’s ear.  The greeting is a powerful reminder that the birthday itself comes from life, a gift from the Almighty God.  The deeper message of birthdays is that life is precious.  We live wisely according to the purpose that God has given us on this earth.  Especially in these times and age, we momentarily forget that despite being mired in uncertainty, and striving through the risks of pandemic threat and consequential changes to lifestyle and livelihood, life continues, and we commemorate birthdays with much gratitude.

On the lighthearted side, birthdays give ample reason and avenues to celebrate.  Mine was special.  I started to receive scores and scores of greetings the day before, on the 17th in the Philippines.  I was a day older in that part of the world, but didn’t mind at all.  The fact is, I thoroughly enjoyed my baby boomer milestone celebrated with myriad wishes for more and abundant blessings for me.  I love blessings, and I will take every bit of blessing I can get – of course, from the will of a super generous giver, God.

An interesting pattern I’ve observed – my birthdays are sprinkled with elements of surprise.  This year, while my daughter Joy sent her early greeting on facetime, I didn’t expect to receive a lovely and extraordinary vase of mixed flowers with a colorful balloon floating on top.  What I was waiting for that evening was my Amazon delivery of chicken chicharron (crispy fried skin) which my mouth was salivating for.  When I opened the door after two rings, I discovered an  even better surprise!  Flowers and balloon for my birthday, from my daughter Joy and her husband Matt.  Forget the chicharron.  I’ll take this beautiful surprise anytime.

Another surprise that day.  From my son John, my daughter-in-law Natasha and my grandson Eliott – in the mail came a most impressive 2021 calendar that John designed with interesting family pictures and several photos of Eliott with his long, thick hair moussed for a comical and delightfully raised  tousle – absolutely lovable.  Usually the calendar arrives before the end of the year, but this time, the timing was perfect for a surprise birthday gift.  I have a collection of the yearly calendars, precious memorabilia.

A semi-surprise was my sister Susan’s gourmet renditions  of various food offerings dropped off before lunch by her husband Mario.

Flowers from my daughter and her husband for my birthday (photo by Linda PJ)

Calendar 2021 from my son and his family (photo by Linda PJ)

Superfluous birthday lunch from my sister (photo by Susan P. Veloro)

In the past, my sister catered to her teasing habit of hosting surprise parties for my birthdays on days when I didn’t expect any celebration.  Somehow, she managed the surprise cleverly, at times, with the attendees efficiently hiding in dark corners or on the floor behind furniture.  And I’d come in to her dark receiving room, almost stepping on bodies stealthily crouched on the floor.  Then suddenly, the boisterous greeting and rowdy chatter would voluminously ensue.  Perhaps in revenge for the repression to silence while hiding.

This time, my sister called beforehand to make sure I meet my brother-in-law outside my home to receive the delicious goodies.  Of course, I couldn’t eat them all on my birthday, so my refrigerator is nearly packed with her food presents.  Wonderful – no need for me to cook for days!

My own semi-surprise gift to myself (really from the Lord) – is my third book in the series of Something Curious — Book 3: Stratucopia.  I didn’t expect it to be published before the holidays due to limited manpower in the production line resulting from pandemic restrictions.   But now, the 90-page book is off the press. The fairy tale was developed with the valuable comments, feedback and suggestions from my grandson Eliott.  It’s a beautiful gift from God, and I so thank Him for it.  I shall share more information about this book in my next blog.

So you see, I love surprises, especially jovial and delightful ones.  They add a special touch and spice to my birthday.

Remarkably, my birthday is a pre-Christmas celebration of the best birthdays of all – Our Lord Jesus’ birth.  Happy Birthday, Jesus –- and Merry, Merry Christmas to all! 

Linda P. Jacob