Sweet Sixteen parties are booming in the Western world. I recently heard of a boy whose 16th birthday cost his parents over half a million pounds. I’d be sixteen again myself if someone was going to give me that much money!
At 18 we become “adults” and suddenly a whole raft of activities become legal – not always helpful but legal nevertheless.
At 21 we get the key of the door, although if anyone doesn’t have a front door key in this day and age before reaching 21 I’d be astonished.
30, I’m told, is the time when people now become fdull adults. What have they been doing for the previous decade? But there is some precedent for this view. It was traditionally the age at which a Jewish man became a full man and so became eligible for various leadership roles in Israel.
Life begins at 40 people say. In my case, most of my forties were not the typical definition of “living”. I had my accident and was flat on my back for a good part of that decade. I didn’t like it much.
These birthdays are milestones; significant markers in the progress of our lives. They are ages when we can and should take a little time out to reflect on what we have done so far and what we want to do with our personalities, our careers, our families and so forth.
So when I hit 50 a few days ago I did what every civilised person does on their birthay – I googled it! “What is the significance of a 50th birthay?” I asked. That was my first mistake! This is what I read:
“A 50th birthday is one of the most important birthdays a person has in their life, it’s a milestone and accomplishment, and the person being honored deserves the best than their friends and loved ones can muster. Marking the beginning of the latter years of a person’s life. Being such a milestone, it is important to not pull out the “over the hill” style of black humor for a person’s 50th Birthday (unless of course, that’s what they ask for) also it is important to make this day not just a celebration of their birthday, but quite literally their life, for you are honoring a half a century of memories, victories, struggles and everything in-between.”
To some people this might look like an innocent enough piece of advice. To me, it looked like the end of life as I know it! What I read (in my delicate condition) was, “Be nice to the old girl and don’t be mean about the fact she’s on her last legs”.
Fortunately, my friends failed to google what I did. Thank goodness for that! The first person who had treated me with this particular pair of kid gloves would have had a swift kick in the pants from me.
Really Google? Is this really what my feeble future holds? If I had been younger and less experienced I might have got depressed about this. But the wisdom of age told me to disregard this and look for something more useful and positive instead.
Google came up blank.
There is nothing useful on Google about being 50. Thanks for that Google.
So I did what I ought to have done in the first place: I went to the Bible. The Bible is a fabulous place for making you feel young. People in Genesis lived for hundreds of years – up to 966 years. I began to feel like a spring chicken. Things were looking great!
But seriously, 50 years in scripture is the Year of Jubilee. Slaves are freed in the 50th year. Property that was lost is restored in the 50th year. Foreigners are liberated and can go home in the 50th year. Debts are erased in the 50th year. Trumpets of praise and victory are blown in the 50th year.
In short the 50th year is, in God’s design, not about the beginning of the end but the beginning of a fabulous new era of health, wealth, freedom and celebration. I’m looking forward to the coming decade with a whole new outlook now.
If you have reached or passed the glorious 50 year mark I want to encourage you to look forward to a bright future in God. It doesn’t matter what people think about things in life; it matters what God says about them. God says, “This is your year of liberation” and that is what you should focus on and live in.
And the best part? The Bible is still better than Google! YES!!!!