Whose Birthday Is It?


Who are these men?

I asked my Facebook friends if they knew which president’s birthdays we were celebrating today and when their real birthdays were. As it turned out, the only ones who knew the answer were probably 50 or older. Do you know?

I was prompted to ask “Whose birthday are we celebrating on President’s Day” when I mentioned to a 28-year old friend that my husband and I were going to see the movie Lincoln. I said I thought it was appropriate since his birthday was the previous day, February 12. She said, “Oh, really?” I knew that fact had escaped her.

Then I spoke at a MOPS group and one of the young mothers at my table admitted that she only knew whose birthday we celebrated on “President’s Day” because her young son came home from school and told her.

When I was growing up, we had two president’s birthday holidays in February, and we knew why we were out of school. Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the actual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22). In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents’ Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February.

So President Nixon gave America a three day weekend, instead of the two separate holidays of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. It’s not unusual to celebrate a birthday on a different day than it actually falls, especially for children’s birthdays so they can have a Saturday party with their friends, but we never forget their actual birth date. And how would you feel if for convenience, your parents made you celebrate your birthday every year with another sibling, or maybe a distant relative, so the family would only have to come to one party? Maybe that did happen to you . . . and I wonder how you felt about it.

The fall out of “President’s Day” is that there are now generations who enjoy a three day weekend in February, but have absolutely no idea why they have the day off.

How many generations does it take to make something obsolete? The answer: One.

As has happened with honoring the birthdays of the first president of the United States and the president who emancipated the slaves, if we don’t pass down the Christian faith to the next generation, Jesus’ birthday and ministry could also become obsolete.

We see this every Christmas and Easter when the secular world tries to take Jesus out of the celebration, and it will happen in our Christian world too…families…children…generations to come. . . if we don’t continue to tell the Gospel story of Jesus and His love.

As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
     But the word of the Lord remains forever.
—1 Peter 1:24



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