My wife and I both recently celebrated our birthdays which are five days apart. Yes, that is right: one more year older. When it comes to birthdays, people often have interesting reactions to becoming one more year older. Some people celebrate it and find joy in it. Some people ignore it and act as if it really did not happen. Some people say that they have stopped getting older and are holding at a certain age. Some people deny that birthdays happen at all and will not even talk about their age. Some people become depressed at the realization that they are getting older and that there is nothing they can do to stop it. It seems to me that our spiritual lives often mirror these same reactions.

Obviously, God wants us to enjoy every aspect of life. He created us and the world that we live in, and it was intended to be good. So one more year has to be a good thing, right! This is exactly how God wants us to envision the life that we live and our journey with Him. One more year, isn’t it great. We get to live, grow, serve, help, deepen and share our lives with God and others for another year. Isn’t it amazing! I find it interesting that people complain about getting older, but all we really truly want in life is just one more day with the people that we love. So find joy in one more year!

Don’t settle for attitudes which wish away life, put life on hold or determine that a certain age was the best time in your life. Life is more than that. Life is an adventure to be shared and discovered. Who knows what this next year might hold for you? In fact, we quickly discover that we cannot control life, but we can control our attitude about life. So why not embrace one more year. What is the alternative? To resist, complain, endlessly question and worry about life. It seems there is already way too much of this attitude in our world. So there may be one more candle on your birthday cake, but there can be so much more of life to experience and discover with God. Choose to celebrate one more year!

The truth is I think we see birthdays all wrong in our culture. We see birthdays as a way to mark time. But I believe the truth is that God sees birthdays as a way to mark growth. Not merely physical growth and development but spiritual growth and development. One more year must be embraced as a way for God to work in and through our lives to make an impact in our communities and ultimately in our world. If we are honest with ourselves, one more year should become our longing and desire for life. Not because we are keeping track of time, but because we can’t wait to grow. Instead of saying, “O God, not another year,” we say, “God please grant me another year.” It is all in your perspective and willingness to let God use you. Embrace the idea of one more year! One more year can make all the difference

By Rev. David A. Carter

Your Pastor Speaks

Rev. David A. Carter is lead pastor at the New Beginnings United Methodist Church in Delaware.