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The unhappiest birthday

Lewis Carroll, in his famous Alice in Wonderland story, Through the Looking Glass, gave us the delightful concept of the ‘un-birthday’, where any day is an excuse to enjoy the treats and gifts that are normally reserved for one’s actual birthday. It is introduced in an exchange between Humpty Dumpty and Alice; and I’d have to say that Humpy’s logic makes good sense to me.

But the Book of books speaks about another type of birthday – stark, solemn, and sober – that can only be described as an anti-birthday, or even a dys-birthday. Speaking on that Maundy Thursday, Jesus said, “Woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” I’m not sure if I can think of a more terrifying sentence. To step into the moccasins and to walk a mile with the person who regrets being born, is a thought experiment beyond words.

Surely one of the things that will make the regret deeper, will be the thought that broken people can be mended. Did not the Healer mend Peter, who had denied Him three times? Did He not mend Thomas, who refused to believe at that first Easter? Did He not mend the woman caught in adultery, and speak about a mended prodigal? Did He not mend the thief on the cross? And what shall that sad betrayer cry, but, “I too, could have been mended, but would not come.”

DM 13th November 2021

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