It is birthday season at my house. My mom, my niece and I all have the same January birthday, at the end of the month. My stepdaughter, Hannah, also has a January birthday.

My mother-in-law and my son have December birthdays, and my brother turns a year older in February. Even Dad, who’s been in heaven since 2012, celebrated his birthday in February. We eat a lot of birthday cake this time of year. Add the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s calories, and you’ve got a diabetic coma in the making.

It’s funny that we celebrate birthdays in such a big way. Once upon a time, before there were calendars, people just lived their lives with no acknowledgement of this special day. After calendars were invented, birthdays were only celebrated for kings and nobility—probably because they were the only ones who could afford to throw big parties. Even then, the birthday person threw the party and showered guests with rich food and gifts—not the other way around.

Birthdays are celebrated differently, depending on where you live. In Russia and Argentina, there’s a tradition of pulling upward on the birthday person’s ears for each year they’ve been alive. Apparently, this is to help the person grow tall and strong. In China, the birthday person tries to slurp a long noodle without biting or breaking it. According to this custom, the longer the noodle, the longer you’ll live. And in Jamaica, watch out! On your birthday, you’ll be covered in flour. I’m not sure why, except that Jamaicans like to have fun.

Arguably the most important, world-changing birthday ever celebrated was the birth of Jesus Christ. It changed our whole calendar, and his birth is still celebrated around the world, more than 2,000 years later.

And here’s a little-known piece of trivia: my first published piece was a birthday poem. I wrote it in fourth grade, and put it on my teacher’s desk. She published it in the school newspaper. Here it is:

I have school on my birthday,

The most important day of the year.

I have school on my birthday,

And that’s no reason to cheer!

I should have my school district sued!

I guess they didn’t hear

That I have school on my birthday,

The most important day of the year.

A bit narcissistic, I was. Many birthdays have passed since that day in Mrs. DeShazo’s class when I shot off those snarky words on a frayed notebook page. And my view of this day has changed significantly. In many ways, it’s just another day. Nothing special about it, except it gives me another reason to celebrate life and the people who make my world so special. It’s a day to appreciate the gift I receive every morning when I wake up, and I get the opportunity to work, to create, to serve, to love.

So this year, in this birthday season, I want to wish each of you the happiest of days! I’m glad you’re in my life. You are a blessing. This year, on your birthday and every day, I pray you’ll be especially blessed.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.