The Gift of This Day

Trudy Maassen Vander Haar

READ : John 10:1-11

This day is my birthday. Shortly before my last birthday, my husband called me into the den, gave me a kiss, and shared a paragraph written by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen said that we should celebrate people’s birthdays every day by the way we treat them, showing that they are loved and that we are glad that they are alive. Some people (my husband is one of them) are very good at giving affirmation. Others take people and days for granted.

A couple, in a letter to the editor of a local paper after a grandchild’s tragic death, said that in this tragedy they had learned to take advantage of each day. Life is indeed precious and so are people.

After I was in a serious car accident, my children gave me a stuffed, cuddly raccoon. I looked like a cross between that animal and a chipmunk with my swollen black eyes and puffy cheeks. We looked in the mirror and laughed. We laughed a lot in those weeks following my narrow escape from death. It was one of our ways of saying, “Thank You, Lord.”

At a retreat I met a woman who had so many ailments that her friends said, “Why do you want to keep on living?” “But,” she said, “I do! Life is a precious gift from God.” Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Life can be abundant under many circumstances.


Lord, may we celebrate the lives of others, have joy in the moment and confidence for eternity. In His Name. Amen.