Should Christians celebrate birthdays? In short, the answer is no.
First let me point out that no exact date of birth has even been given for anyone mentioned in God’s word………..not even Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth”.
Nowhere is it written in God’s word that we are to celebrate our birthdays, or the birth of Christ – yet it is written we are to keep Passover, in remembrance of God’s angel of death “passing over” the homes of Hebrews when God sent the tenth plague upon the Egyptians; the killing of the first-born children. When Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world, Christ became our Passover (not Easter). Passover is the highest of Holy Days.
You may question, “What about the wise men”? “Did they not bring gifts to the baby Jesus”? NO. The wise men were not present at Jesus’ birth. They did however bring gifts to ‘King Jesus’ when he was a child approximately 2 years of age. These were not birthday gifts, these were gifts to ‘The King’ which was customary to do.
We can find only three birthday celebrations mentioned within the entire Bible, all which brought about total disaster.
- In Genesis, Pharaoh’s birthday celebration included hanging his chief baker during his party.
- Herod, overtaken by his lust for a half naked dancer, who happen to be his wife’s daughter, (and his niece), promised her to behead God’s servant John the Baptist, which he sorrowfully fulfilled.
- Job’s sons and daughters attended his oldest son’s birthday celebration where God allowed Satan to kill his 10 children.
Job chapter 3 makes it very clear there is nothing good about the day of a man’s birth, for Job cursed the day he was born.
The celebration of one’s birthday began with the pagan practice of astrology. Men invented calendars and charted the stars to calculate the birth dates of rulers and kings to the very hour of their birth, believing the fate of the rich and powerful would effect all of society, and the superstition of saying “happy birthday” was believed to ward off all evil spirits.
“The Lord of Birthdays” by Ralph and Adelin Linton gives us the history of birthday celebrations of ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and modern Germany.
“The Greeks believed that everyone had a protective spirit or daemon who attended their birth and watched over them for life. This spirit had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born”.
The Bible warns us we are not to follow pagan holidays or celebrations.
Jer. 10:2-3 “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed by them. For the customs of people are vain.”
We are not to follow the traditions of men Lev. 18:3, 24-29, & 30, but to follow only the word of God.
Leviticus 23 lists the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations; and birthdays are not among them.