Three years ago I wrote a blog on the subject of birthdays.* Between each annual remembrance of them there’s a period of 12 months, or 365 days, or 8,760 hours, or 525,600 minutes or 315,360,000 seconds. On a leap year there is an extra day, bringing the total of seconds to 316,224,400. Whatever way you prefer to measure a year, it is the time it takes for the earth to travel on its orbit around the sun. Long periods of time can be measured in ‘light years’, as determined by the speed of light in a vacuum. In a Julian year, light will travel a distance of approximately 10 trillion kilometres.
All this is mind-boggling when we look at the stars and marvel how great the universe is and how long it has taken for light from the stars to reach our eyes. The duration of our existence by comparison with the age of countless galaxies is less than a spark, a spark so small and insignificant that it cannot be seen, and yet we have been given life so that we can have some understanding of it.
I can get a pretty good idea of the age of a tree by looking at its girth, and I can have a more accurate assessment by cutting it down and counting the annual growth rings. When I look at the wrinkles on my hands and other parts of my body, I know that I am no longer young! But with that knowledge there is the joy of having had such a wonderful innings, and maybe there’s more to come. I look back and can see there have been many blessings, most of all, my wife who has cared for me and for our children; she has cared for their children and even today cares for their children too! She and I have been blessed beyond measure.
So when it comes to my birthday, I am thankful each year, not just for the mother who bore me in her womb and my father who loved her and provided for my needs before I left the fold, but for God who included me in His plan of salvation from before the beginning of time.