In September, a large number of my friends celebrate their birthdays. I’ll not speculate on the reason. But it is an appropriate time to meditate on the origin of birthday celebrations since we all have them at some point during the year.
Birthday celebrations began as a way of recognizing the spirit that comes alive when each soul is born. Initially there was only one candle no matter what the age, symbolizing the inner spirit and the natural, shining genius that enters the world at the birth of each child. The flame of inner intelligence burns at the center of the soul and lights a path through the uncertain world. The single candle was lit to remind everyone of the invisible fire at the core of each life.
A birthday reminds us all that each of us is already gifted, each having an inner genius and some God-given gifts to bring to life. One’s birthday involves the return of the mystery of oneself and a reminder of the inner flame that each of us possesses. The blowing out of the candle is not simply to make a wish, but a call to consider what the candle of each life burns for. The rising smoke from the extinguished candle carry’s not just a material wish, but our prayers toward the heavens.
Birthdays shouldn’t remind us of the passing of years, but of the flame that still burns inside.