I’ve always had a weird memory for dates.
I love numbers. I’m intrigued by data. I like remembering anniversaries of random things. I even love math. Dates on the calendar seem significant to me.
As we entered into 2019, I was struck by a strange collision of two very important dates in my life.
The first one is Easter. For a Christian, Easter is the most important day in history. It’s the day that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. It’s the day that provides meaning for every other day in life.
I work for a church, so Easter is the most important Sunday of the year. If church was a sport, Easter would be the Super Bowl. If it was a movie, Easter would be the Oscars. We have more guests on Easter than any other Sunday. As a staff, we pour all of our creative energy into making Easter the best service possible to celebrate the significance of the day.
The other significant day for me in 2019 has been looming on my calendar. This is the year I am celebrating what feels like the most milestone of all milestone birthdays. I’m not sure if I can even write the number, but I’ll give you a hint. It ends in zero.
In my head, I’m 34, so it feels impossible that I’m really going to hit this milestone. My goodness, people. I love hip hop music. I try my best to stay on top of all things pop culture. I love technology. I teach myself Photoshop tricks for fun. Just last week, I bought clothes in the juniors section. I have a third grader! There is no way that I am going to be as old as the calendar is trying to tell me. (You lie, Calendar! You lie!)
Anyway, I don’t want anyone to know this, which is why I’m writing a blog post about it on the INTERNET, but it’s true. Somehow, I’m going to be… Nevermind. I can’t say it. It’s a big number… and I’m sure you can figure it out.
A few months ago, I was planning ahead for the 2019 calendar, and I noticed that these two very important and significant dates in my life are both on the same day.
As you probably know, the calendar people don’t put Easter on the same date every year like Christmas, New Year’s or Independence Day. They don’t even use an easy-to-remember day, like the fourth Thursday in November. No. Easter is way too special for that. Instead, they use some complex formula that involves the moon and the spring Equinox.
These all have to line up in a certain way and order, and then some calendar genius figures out the date. As a result, Easter can end up being anytime between the end of March to the end of April. This year, it’s April 21.
When I realized that Easter Sunday was on my 50th (UGH. I said it!) birthday, the first thing that came to mind was, “I guess I have to work on my birthday.” Honestly, no one who works at a church takes the day off on Easter Sunday.
Then, I started trying to find some hidden message in this alignment of the calendar. I decided it must be a wake-up call to send me a message that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I get to celebrate Jesus on my birthday! How great is that?
In some ways, it’s kind of a relief that I don’t have to have big expectations that April 21 will be all about me. It’s crazy how much your perspective changes once you’ve made it through your 40s. You really do develop a much more laid-back attitude about life. I’ve had no desire to celebrate my birthday in a big way, and this gives me a perfect excuse to focus my attention somewhere else.
Several friends have suggested that maybe this birthday will be about fresh starts, new beginnings and redemption… you know… in line with the message of Christ’s resurrection. I love that idea.
I looked back at past Easter dates to find out the last time Easter Sunday fell on my birthday. Do you want to know when it was?
I remember sharing other birthdays with Easter weekend. But never in the history of my life has Easter Sunday actually been on my birthday.
This was such a surprise to me. How is it possible that on the one birthday that feels so significant in my physical life it could fall on the biggest holiday in my spiritual life? Hmmm?
I don’t often get a super clear message that I’m convinced came straight from God. But in that moment of wondering, I felt like He answered my question.
He’s not surprised at all that my 50th birthday will fall on Easter Sunday. He’s always known. He knew that even before I was born.
I don’t know what that means, except this: I am known.
I’m not an accident. The date of my birth wasn’t random. I was planned.
And I am known.
A lot has changed in my heart since my last milestone birthday. I’m not longing for a big celebration, an amazing trip or expensive gifts. But being known? That sounds like an awesome birthday present.
And I think that’s really what Easter is about.
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