I was going to start out with the words: ‘Don’t get me wrong, but…’ I didn't – you’ll see why.
The commemoration of a personage by way of a memorial statue, devout service or sectarian gathering or even handing them (or their representative) a plaque or key to the city, etc; is perhaps a fitting tribute to that extra-ordinary human being – whilst alive or post-humously.
That being said; I find difficulty celebrating the birthday of such an individual. Celebrating the birthday of a departed folk hero, statesman or family member seems a bit morbid to me. Remember them on their date of birth, it’s respectful and noble – place an ‘in memory of’ in the newspaper or community bulletin; but not a celebration – that’s weird… They did their thing and their legacy (good or bad) is enough. We have learned something from their life – let it rest there… It should be personal anyway; not some get together.
Look no further than what it did to the accepted date of the Birthday Celebration of the Greatest Man ever to walk the earth. Christmas has decidedly become the biggest commercial money spinner ever known. Jesus Christ, in the main, doesn’t even get a side-mention anymore.
Yes by all means; celebrate your loved-one’s or hero’s passing and extend prayers (or whatever your conviction dictates) for the crossing over of their soul on a new path of its journey; but I cringe at the thought of annually celebrating their birthday. Commemorate the day they passed with a minute of silence – it is by far a worthier celebration than the birth of the person.
A comedian once came on stage complaining of a terrible hangover. He had apparently been up all night toasting the health of his grandfather on the old man’s 100th birthday celebration party. The punch line: his grandfather wasn’t there; the guy died when he was 46..!
Matthew 8:18 Now when Jesus saw a large crowd around him, he gave orders to go to the other side of the lake. 8:19 Then an expert in the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 8:20 Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 8:21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 8:22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Indeed, let the dead bury the dead – we live on and strive for betterment; having perhaps learned a bit from them. Roll on the time when Nelson Mandela Day becomes a Martin Luther King Day – a general public holiday party – a few quick familiar words in remembrance, get that out of the way – now to enjoy the ‘festivities’ - a dishonour of the memory and birthday… Let the dead, party with the dead!
What do you think? - SB