It is always great to watch youth students getting celebrated for their birthdays during Youth House Church (YHC) meeting on Sunday. We believe that someone’s birth is not a coincidence or accident, but is by God’s divine plan. That is why every person is intrinsically precious and valuable regardless of his/her appearance, family tree or talents. So every birthday celebration is about celebrating God’s unique and wonderful plan for the world, which started through that person.
However, from what I’ve observed over the past year, it seems to me that birthday celebrations in YHC have become more about enjoying the cake (or complaining about the cake) than celebrating the person. So from this year September, youth shepherds will not bring birthday cakes for their members’ birthdays.
Usually, the birthday person has already eaten cake (or will) in family celebration. Additional cake in youth house church don’t seem to make anyone more grateful – instead, some feel entitled to it. Also, bringing nice cakes for 7-8 members is not a small budget for youth shepherds who are mostly students.
So instead of bringing birthday cakes, youth shepherds will bring ONE small cupcake for the birthday person. This ensures that the birthday person gets a cake (still a cake!) and other members don’t focus on the cake, but on congratulating the birthday person.
It is not the taste or look or size of a cake that makes the birthday special. It is the warm wishes in a caring community that makes it special and meaningful. Hopefully through this, instead of celebrating how great the cake is, or complaining how it isn’t, we get to learn to appreciate someone’s precious birth and their presence in our lives. To ensure this happens, I also encourage that each YHC to take a moment to pray altogether for the birthday person to make the celebration more meaningful.
If you really to want eat a birthday cake, feel free to volunteer to bring one for the birthday person and for everyone in your youth house church. (In single adult house churches, the person who received the birthday cake brings it for the next birthday person) Just don’t expect your youth shepherd to bring it. You don’t need to eat it: You “get to” eat it. Gratitude begins from understanding that life is a gift. Gift is never to be expected but it is to be enjoyed with surprise and thanksgiving. Birthday cake is a gift.