Have you every thought about all the days that get special attention? We have birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Flag Day, Groundhog Day…lots and lots of days. Sometimes they’re marked because they commemorate an event; other times they’re marked just because we get the day off from work! No matter what the occasion, these marks make a day different from other days. Marks indicate there’s a purpose or a reason for this day, and we put higher importance on those days. Even within that set of marked days, we sort or sift one more time, so even some of our anniversaries and birthdays are ranked higher than others. We really celebrate just a handful: the first and the fifth, 20th, 25th…but the 17th or the 14th? The 22nd? Those are just leading up to the big ones!
So here’s a couple questions that come to mind: Why we mark days anyway? Why are some of the marked days considered more special than others? Getting more specific: why do we mark birthdays? Is because we’re getting older, or is it a day where we remember that a special life has been born, a life that impacts ours, and that our lives are richer because that person is in our life? Isn’t that more worthy of remembrance and celebration?
What about anniversaries? I just celebrated one on Monday, June 18th: my 29th anniversary. It’s kind of a big one – it’s the one before the 30th, so it’s like pre-anniversary to the real anniversary. Except for this year, seven days before my 29th anniversary, I had a heart attack. Now the 29th anniversary is the one that seems important!
When you think about it, the 29th should already have been marked as a pretty special anniversary. I shouldn’t have needed a heart attack to remember what it is I’m celebrating. That date is marked on my calendar to say that I have someone remarkable to share my life with. Twenty-nine years ago, I made a commitment to Shelley that I would love her and honor her and cherish her all the days of my life, and that she would do the same. Keeping that covenant for 29 years is important to our lives, just as 30 is going to be important, and 31, and 32, and so on for the rest of our lives.
You see, the reason we mark things is because they’re important to us, plain and simple. When we fail to remember what the days mean to us, it’s easy to forget what’s really important. In my faith, there are two big days that come to mind: Christmas and Easter. Is the important part of Christmas Santa Claus, or is it the Gospel of Luke proclaiming “for unto you is born this day in the city of David, Christ the Lord?” For Easter, is it just a day for chocolate Easter bunnies, or is it a day for Christ to say I’ve come, I’m a sacrifice, I will die and rise again, and through me you’ll have new covenant, a new promise of forgiveness of sin?
John 3:16 says that Jesus came that we should have eternal life, so I think those two days are definitely days worth marking. But I also think it’s important to look at all of our days. In fact, David said, “O God, please teach me to number my days.” As you think about Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday and as you think about the dates that you mark your calendar, or set up as a alerts on your iPhone, think about why we mark dates. Think about what makes them important, then choose to celebrate all of them!