Do Adventists Celebrate Birthdays?
Yes, most Seventh-day Adventists do celebrate birthdays because we see them as excellent reminders of the life God has blessed us with. And we celebrate them the same way everyone else does—with friends, family, presents, and a special meal.
But these decisions boil down to personal conviction. Each Adventist may have different reasons to celebrate or not celebrate.
That’s why we’re about to explain:
Why most Adventists celebrate birthdays
Seventh-day Adventists celebrate birthdays because these milestones are times of gratitude for the gift of life. After all, each birthday marks another year we’ve lived, affirming how we’ve grown and how we’ve been blessed. They’re an opportunity to show the love of Christ to important people in our lives, whether family, friends, or church members.
And while the Bible doesn’t directly address whether we should or shouldn’t celebrate birthdays, it does show us people rejoicing in their children’s important milestones.
For example, Abraham threw a party when Isaac was fully weaned (Genesis 21:8).
John the Baptist’s parents had a gathering to celebrate his birth, naming, and circumcision (Luke 2:57–60).
And when Jesus Christ turned twelve, he was deemed old enough to go to the Passover celebration with his parents (Luke 2:41–42).
So regardless of whether the Jews or the early church had birthday celebrations, both the Old Testament and New Testament affirm celebrating various achievements in life. And many of these achievements had to do with the particular age of a child.
And because the Bible doesn’t say anything against celebrating birthdays, Adventists are left to make their own decision about it. The Seventh-day Adventist Church encourages following personal conviction in the celebration of such holidays.1
And most Adventists do choose to celebrate birthdays.
For one, we believe that God, as our creator, loves to see us live and prosper.
He had a role in our development from our earliest moments (Psalm 139:13). And He cares about us so much that He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7).
He loves watching us grow—not just growing physically but growing in maturity and wisdom—and birthdays are a great way to commemorate that.
Second, the Bible tells us that it’s good to enjoy life (Ecclesiastes 8:15). And it encourages us to rejoice for each day we’re given (Psalm 118:24).
Along those lines, here are some other reasons Adventists celebrate birthdays:
- To show gratitude to God
- To spend time with family and friends
- To show appreciation for our loved ones
- To remind children that they are a special part of our family and that we love watching them grow
- To remind adults and seniors that they will always have a place in our family and that we admire their wisdom and maturity
- To remind church members that we care about them and they have a place in our church family
- To enjoy a special meal or dessert
- To enjoy the blessing of giving and receiving gifts
So what might an Adventist birthday celebration look like? Find out next.
How Adventists celebrate birthdays
Adventists celebrate birthdays just like anyone else. Most celebrations involve gathering together with friends and family to enjoy food and gifts. But the way we celebrate birthdays has more to do with our own culture and family traditions than religion.
However, there are some general principles and practices Adventists might embrace when celebrating birthdays.
For one, most try to avoid throwing over-the-top parties. Much of this has to do with honoring God’s call to use money responsibly (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Instead, they might settle for a peaceful, joy-filled day with their loved ones. They may have a home-cooked meal or go out to eat at a local restaurant. And even open up a bottle of sparkling grape juice (as a tasty, non-alcoholic alternative).
Like many families, they’ll have a cake or another kind of tasty dessert and receive presents from their loved ones.
The church family might get involved by placing birthday announcements in the church bulletin. If the church is hosting a potluck after the worship service on Sabbath, congregations might even sing happy birthday or get them a birthday cake to share.
On the Sabbath day closest to their birthdays, some Adventists give a special offering along with their tithe to thank God for another year of life. This is known as a Birthday Thank Offering.
Of course, it’s all up to each person how they choose to celebrate. But in the end, most Adventists use the occasion to remind their loved ones how much they value them.
Why some Adventists might not celebrate birthdays
Although very few Adventists avoid celebrating birthdays, there are three key reasons why Adventists—and other Christians in general—might make the personal decision not to do so. They are:
- The Bible doesn’t command people to celebrate
- Some modern birthday traditions have pagan roots
- Birthdays might encourage selfishness
It’s true that the Bible never commands believers to celebrate their birthdays.
But if you follow this line of thinking, you’ll start to realize the Bible doesn’t mention a lot of things that people do today (like driving cars or using the internet).
But just because these things aren’t mentioned in the Bible doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them.
Likewise, just because something has pagan roots doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate it or use it in everyday life. And it’s a good thing, too, because many things have pagan connotations in some way, shape, or form (just look at the names of the days of the week!).
Instead, God wants us to pray for guidance and use the reason He has given us to decide what to do concerning things the Bible never mentions or things that have pagan roots. The key is making sure our actions uplift biblical principles.
And as far as being selfish goes, it all depends on how you celebrate.
You don’t have to have an over-the-top party. You can have a simple one at home and look for ways to make your birthday a blessing to others, such as using the occasion as a way to earn money for a non-profit organization.
Above all, birthdays can be a blessing through the simple fact that you’re taking time for meaningful connections with people.
Personal conviction guides Adventist birthday celebrations
While some Christian denominations don’t celebrate birthdays, the Adventist Church isn’t one of them.
Most Adventists enjoy these occasions, but not because of specific religious rules. Rather, we approach the holidays based on personal choices.
The majority of us who celebrate birthdays have found many meaningful reasons to do so—whether it’s spending time with family, bringing thanks to God, or finding joy in another year of life.
And now that we’ve covered what Adventists believe about birthdays, aren’t you curious where they stand on other holidays like Christmas, Easter, and New Year?
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