Happy Birthday Mrs. Doyle

Lucinda’s mother was only 9 years old. When we were kids we laughed about her age and thought it was very cool that Mrs. Doyle had a birthday on leap year. The calendar kept her young.

What about the rest of us? We do get to celebrate a birthday every year. It wouldn’t hurt to think beyond the presents and cake to the true meaning of our day of birth. “Bah humbug” birthday style? Anything but. Just like the one who puts Christ back in Christmas, you can be the one who puts the miracle of birth back in the birthday.


Iris was never much of a birthday celebrator. She shrugged it off as a nuisance to her regular routine. Too much expectation, too much attention. Things changed when her daughter was born. After years of infertility, she gave birth to Clara. Ten tiny toes, ten tiny fingernails, and the tiniest little mouth shaped perfectly in an “O.” But it wasn’t her physical perfection that caused her awe. It was her breath, sweet and pure, inhaling and exhaling, that landed on Iris’s cheek like a kiss from God.

That’s when she realized that God is in the birthday. Parties are beside the point. A birthday is about God giving His children the gift of life. Iris felt God in her newborn daughter’s breathing,  and now she remembers it at every  birthday. The Hebrew word for breath is Elohim, which means God. That’s no coincidence.

Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to appreciate the miracle of birth. Mrs. Doyle’s leap year birthday reminds us, whether the calendar tells you to celebrate every year, or once in four, you should celebrate birthdays each and every day, with God.


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