I piped up, “Yes, but we understand you have a birthday coming up, and we want to celebrate!” We broke into song, enjoying the stunned look on his face.
I enjoyed organizing the surprise party for our lecturer, who when he interviewed me for the course at Heythrop College, let on that we shared the same birthday, but a year apart. I filed that little detail away, for use later…
In organizing the get-together after our lecture, I was a bit cheeky as I didn’t let on to my fellow students that it was my birthday too. It was more fun to pull off the surprise for him – he’s a gracious, softly spoken man with a big intellect and an equally big heart. And I don’t know that we do enough celebrating, so give me a reason and I’m on it.
After all, as I say in Finding Myself in Britain, in the chapter, “Come to my Party,” celebration is a spiritual discipline:
As we see with King David, celebration is rooted in gratitude to God for the many gifts he gives us. I love how Dallas Willard puts it in his classic The Spirit of the Disciplines: “Holy delight and joy is the great antidote to despair and is a wellspring of genuine gratitude – the kind that starts at our toes and blasts off from our loins and diaphragm through the top of our head, flinging our arms and our eyes and our voice upward toward our good God.”
How might you incorporate more celebrations into your life? Who could you surprise?
And for some tips on how to throw a birthday party for yourself, with some thought-provoking dinner-party questions you could pose, check out my celebrations chapter. No leftover Bounty or Dove Caramels, I promise. (That’s a UK quip – sorry if it doesn’t compute!)
 Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1988), 179.