What are birthdays good for? In on word: prayer. Nothing else if you have learnt to pray. You don't want anything else. Your life begins from that day many years ago. Prior to that you were not meaningful or relevant except God had decided that at a time, you shall be born.
You were born to live forever even if this body must be given up for another at some point in order to get a better one. Meanwhile the great task of restoring creation continues. Only in this context are birthdays meaningful. What such work ought we to expect, give or receive on this day?
I just checked a little movie I put up a couple of years ago on YouTube. It has gathered more than a hundred thousand visits. This is the sort of wishes most people give and desire. We have to accommodate them as the alternatives to denying them would be far worse. For want of a better example, I imagine had Moses not allowed divorce among the Hebrews, there would had been more murders. We wait and pray for everyone God sends us.
We over estimate our abilities and virtues. As a result we set ourselves up to fail. This impact on the political economy sometimes scares me. Then you realize how much of it was left to God to graciously create good outcomes, which many called luck but we often attribute to our effort.
It is due to God's wonderful grace through Christ that we are still around. In a narrow and more visible fashion, I used to see this on Sheikh Zayed Road. I thought there should have been far more fatalities.
For many, birthdays is still the search for meaning. Why am I here? It is a very private thing. For fools, pleasure is meaningful enough and hopefully age will knock some sense into them.
The third and most dangerous choice is to make yourself attractive to other people and succeed at it. That's the road to perdition. That was what Eve wanted from eating the fruit on that Tree. Except for the poor and hopeless, this is often the majority's choice. That's why Jesus told those stories of who finally got to party with him.
You don't need to be poor materially. What counts is poor in spirit. But if you are rich, it is hard to be poor in spirit. That's why some people fast. I imagine it must be helpful to the Muslims who understand it in this manner.
No, I am not ecumenical or a universalist. If you care enough, you will understand that the love of God tears down barriers. You will get to appreciate better why God never explained to Job the real reasons for his suffering. He had already provided them! You mustn't look at it from outside in. It is all about seeing from the inside out. You must be born again.