Not a typical birthday greeting

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I celebrated my 59th birthday this week. I certainly looked forward to birthdays more as a child than I do as an adult. Yet, time marches on.

In today’s fast-paced social media culture, I received several hundred birthday wishes on various platforms. It’s nice to be loved!

Most of the greetings were a simple “Happy birthday.” However, one was truly exceptional and its message is worth sharing.

It came from Andrew Moyo, a Christian in Switzerland — the country from which my grandfather emigrated nearly a century ago. Andrew’s message was was unique.

“HOPE: People without HOPE often sink into depression, becoming filled with deep despair. When Hope is lost, life with all its fascinating opportunities is reduced to a mere existence. Without hope, life becomes bleak, joyless and a burden of never-ending treadmill of chaos.

On this your special day, do not lose HOPE. BLESSINGS TO YOU AS YOU KEEP HOPING. Happiest Birthday EVER.”

He didn’t post it to for others to see. He sent it as a private message. What a great way to spread joy, encouragement and hope to others!

As people get older, how many of them begin to lose hope?

There gets to be a point in life where people know they have already lived more years than they likely have in front of them. Birthdays are often painful reminders of how life didn’t turn out the way they had hoped.

Failed relationships, jobs that go nowhere, missed opportunities, chronic illnesses, personal tragedies – it’s easy to see how people could lose hope, especially around their birthdays.

Proverbs 13:12 tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Andrew’s greeting is a great way to remind people that regardless of what’s going on in their lives, they still have hope! Even in happy times, who couldn’t benefit from a little hope, love or joy?

I don’t know if his message is something Andrew sends to everyone he considers a friend, or if it was unique to me. But that doesn’t matter.

It was a heart-felt message to share with an acquaintance on a special day.

I’m going to follow Andrew’s example and craft similar messages to share with people on their birthdays, wedding anniversaries, job promotions or new jobs, or after a sad announcement concerning the death of a loved one, news of an illness, loss of a pet, or any other occasion.

It only takes a minute. Yet, it might be just the type of encouragement people need at the moment.

Thanks, Andrew!  You truly gave me hope.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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