James 1:17, KJV"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
I've seen it so many times throughout my life, but I never really pondered the thought until last night. The lights are dim, the room is full of people loudly singing colorful variations of notes and tones of "Happy birthday to you...", and then it happens. Someone is lovingly making their way to the recipiant of a cake, store bought or homemade, it makes no difference, for the taste is not what truly matters. It's all about that one moment... when you first see the golden glow of the candles reflected onto a smiling face who is bringing your birthday cake to you. Usually a protective hand shields them so that they don't prematurely blow out, because those tiny flames are just for you.
I haven't researched the history of why we make a wish and blow out the candles. What an odd tradition. When you stop and think about it, a forceful blow of air from ones mouth all over a shared cake is not a very sanitary idea. But we do it anyway. And once the wish as been made and the tiny flames are extenguished, a roar of laughter, handclaps, and cheers are echoed throughout the room.
You have lived another year.
Have you ever been in a public place, such as a restaurant, where you observe the above scene from afar? It is almost impossible not to smile. Sure, he or she is a perfect stranger that you know no better than Adam's housecat... but you can't stop the small tug at the corner of your mouth, or even sometimes cheer or clap along with the group. Why? There's just something about those precious few seconds when everyone watches the cake make it's way to the birthday recipiant... that moment when the flames disappear and the little stream of smoke rises immediately after.
It's a happy moment. It's a celebrated moment. It's one of those few moments in life where all is perfect and well. It's a moment never to be taken for granted, for the gift of life is a precious gift, indeed.
A healthy heart beat is amazing and wonderful. Just ask the man or woman struggling to take their next breath while their name appears on a very long list among others who wait for an available heart for transplantation. An easy, comfortable, satisfying breath of air inhaled and exhaled from healthy lungs is like invisible gold. Just ask one dying of lung cancer who would give anything for a few seconds of that pain-free experience. Time spent with friends and family at a reunion, a party, or just in a living room playing a game or talking is invaluable. Just ask someone who has to spend 4-6 hours in a dialysis unit 3 times per week, hooked up to a machine that literally pulls every ounce of strength from your body, in a room filled with other sick patients, strong chemical smells, and loud noises.
You may be unhappy with your present set of circumstances in your life. Things may not be going your way at home or at work. You may be flat out miserable, or perhaps even find yourself wishing you had a way out. But I assure you of one thing... it could be much, much worse.
If you have a healthy body, if you have friends and family who truly love you, then you are beyond blessed. Each and every single day of your life is a precious gift from the one and only gracious, loving, merciful God. Live each day to the best of your ability with a thankful heart. Celebrate each new year you've been given... and never take for granted the next time you see the birthday candle glow.
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/robdebsgreen/with/2277823216/