Last night a handful of folks from church went to a nursing home to stage a little surprise birthday party for a woman who turns 95 this week. It was a simple affair with a small cake and the sounds of “Happy Birthday” filling the corridor as she was wheeled towards us. We hit the gentle crescendo right on cue as she saw our faces and put it all together. (And right before another resident told us to keep it down.) Then we all told her how much we appreciate her and gathered around to hear stories we’d all heard before, but still love to hear her tell. Some stories reached back to before the Great Depression. Some from just a few years ago. But all of them involved a girl, then later a woman, following her Lord Jesus Christ for many, many years.
She never thought she’d live to see 95. Who would? I don’t think I’ll see it, and longevity runs in my family. My father’s father was 87 when he died from an otherwise-avoidable circumstance. Dad’s 81 this year and still going strong, as is his 86 year old brother. Still, women live longer than men, typically, so I doubt I’ll get there. My wife might, though. And so might you.
Our friend still comes to Sunday night services and Wednesday night prayer meetings when she’s well. (There’s always someone willing to pick her up.) And if her body can muster it, you bet she’ll be at next church business meeting.
I can’t imagine a more precious life experience than being in your mid-90s, being celebrated by people generations younger than you and watching them watching you with rapt attention as you regale them with stories of trusting Jesus. What a beautiful gift you would give them as you model the Christian life before them week in and week out.
How do you prepare for your 95th birthday? The same way you prepare for any of them. Live your life for Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, believe the amazingly Good News of forgiveness and salvation He offers, and then live one day after the next, after the next, in grateful devotion to Him.