Today is my birthday! … 69 years.
It’s not one of the zero birthdays, but in ways I look at this as more pivotal than my next, the 70’th one.
Like many of my generation I’ve had a good life; a fair number of successes, some regrets and a small bit of disappointment. And as the song says:
I’ve had a roof up above me,
And a fine place to sleep.
There’s been food on the table,
and shoes on my feet.
You gave me your love, Lord,
and a fine family.
Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me.
And I do thank the Lord for my family:
My child bride Diana;
Don & Stephanie;
JoAnne, Matt, Jake, Scott & Riley;
My father Bjarne and mother Greta;
Brothers Elmer and Melvin and their families; my nieces and nephews.
I realize that in leaving this decade of my sixties and entering the seventies and maybe beyond, I am looking towards the end, with each year closing that gap. Finished with the so-called productive years and retired at the age of sixty-something and looking for ways to fill the days.
But I have another birthday, a birthday of an entirely different sort! Thirty some years ago I had a new birth when Jesus Christ came into my life and gave me spiritual birth.
You see, because of this birthday I count up and not down. You’ve heard that great old hymn “Amazing Grace?” Listen to some of the words it speaks to my soul:
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…
then when we’ve first begun.
That hymn begins “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me…. ” When you look at the wretched life of the writer, a slave trader, you realize the power in the birth of which I speak.
Let me invoke a privilege on this birthday of mine. A privilege that is a hope and a prayer that when I’ve been there ten thousand years … bright shining as the sun … that those I love in the here-and-now will have answered that beckoning of Jesus and will be with me on that day ten thousand years from now.
Don Johnson – January 2013