The birth of a child is one of the most joyful experiences for parents and their families, friends and neighbours are delighted to be invited to share in that joy.
The gift of new life, and the hopes and expectations for a new baby all combine to raise us out of our daily concerns for a moment.
As the years go by we celebrate birthdays with family gatherings and shared memories.
Sometimes we even try to resolve disagreements and heal wounds for the sake of the family. Even after someone dies, family birthdays are remembered and graves visited.
In the Church family we celebrate the birth of three people throughout the year, the most important being Jesus on December 25.
We also celebrate the birth of St John the Baptist on June 24. He was to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus.
Thirdly we celebrate birth of Mary the mother of Jesus on September 8 each year.
We remember that they were called to play a part in preparing for and bringing Jesus into the world to offer everyone new life.
The others saints are usually remembered on the day of their deaths as they are born into a new life in heaven.
In one of his teachings Jesus said ‘unless you are born again you cannot get into the Kingdom of God’. He teaches that we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need a new heart and a pure intention in our thoughts, words and actions.
As Christians we celebrate birthdays like everyone else. But we also have a second spiritual birthday.
It begins before heaven, it begins when we are baptised. We could find out when we were baptised and celebrate that new life in us each year too.
A Christian sees that the seeds of faith are sown in our hearts. We must play our part by responding to the guidance of God and by keeping His commandments.
As we celebrate the birth of Mary the mother of Jesus this week we might like to celebrate God’s presence in our lives, his care for us, and that nothing is impossible to God in a heart that is open to His inspiration.