By Aaron Wilson
Photo- and video-documented gender-reveal parties and announcements have become a commonplace occurrence on social media over the last five years—to the chagrin of some.
In a world where “promposals”—an elaborate way high schoolers mimic a marriage proposal in asking someone to prom—are now a thing, it’s easy to regard such celebrations as sappy and self-indulgent excuses to make much of one’s self on social media.
But beyond the unveiling of pink or blue cake and confetti, gender-reveal celebrations actually reveal significant truths about God’s design for humanity—truths the world desperately needs to hear as it clamors to understand what it means to be a boy or girl—a man or woman.
Christians can embrace the cultural phenomenon of gender-reveal parties to the glory of God. And more than just giving permission to participate, I think the Church should lead the world in finding ways to celebrate gender.
Here are four reasons why:
1. Gender is good.
God is glorified when we make merry around gifts He calls excellent. And from the beginning, gender has always been part of God’s good creation.
The Lord formed woman with the confident proclamation, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). In other words, it is good that gender exists among humanity.
One goal of the enemy is to disavow diversity among sexes—to pervert the created order by causing people to doubt God’s intentions in the categories of gender.
Christians rightly argue against this worldly perspective, but what if instead of just writing dissertations about the sovereign differences of sexuality, we threw parties to celebrate the goodness of gender distinction?
What if we showed truth and grace to those with different worldviews by inviting them to attend such a celebration? In such an instance, the light of truth might be better revealed through the ambient glow of cake candles at a gender-reveal party than a hastily written hot take on social media.
Such celebrations give a contemporary framework and hospitable environment to express truth about gender and God’s glory.
2. The revelation of gender is an invitation to prayer.
Before birth, parents don’t know much about their children. Our kid’s hair color, favorite flavors, and the sound of their cry are all mysteries.
We don’t know what our children’s dreams and passions will be or what talents God will choose to bestow on them. But in God’s sovereignty, many parents in the Western world are afforded the technology to discover their child’s gender before knowing anything else about them.
Could there be greater implications to this knowledge than just getting a leg up on buying baby clothes?
What if we started using gender-reveal parties and announcements to craft more specific prayers for children? What if we went to war for our kids by praying about common temptations they will encounter and praying passages of Scripture over them that apply specifically to men or to women?
How might the Kingdom of God grow if we started praying for kids just a little earlier and with more specificity? Gender-reveal parties and announcements can be a launching pad for Christian parents to invite the Church into this kind of spiritual warfare.
3. Gender is a sovereign gift from God.
Contrary to the teaching of our culture, individuals do not bear responsibility for choosing their gender. Rather, gender is presented as a predetermined gift from God.
While Darwin may attribute a person’s sex to chance, the Bible assigns this creative prerogative to a divine Father caring for His children.
And since all things created by God are for His glory and for the good of those that love Him, the discovery of a child’s gender carries greater implications than simply what color to paint the nursery.
We should celebrate God’s glory as we anticipate the unveiling announcement of a boy or girl. God intentionally predestines gender, so we should celebrate with awe and excitement as we watch His creative design at work.
4. Gender-reveal parties are teaching opportunities for children (and adults).
God likes to pique the curiosity of young hearts. The pages of Scripture often initiate spiritual customs to invoke questions from children (Joshua 4:6).
Although you won’t find gender reveal parties prescribed anywhere in Scripture, they can serve as object lessons to get others asking the biblical question, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” (Exodus 12:26).
When it comes to teaching kids about sexuality, too often we stop at body parts. We owe it to our children to instill a biblical understanding of what differentiates a boy growing up to be a man from a girl growing up to be a woman.
Gender-reveal parties offer a context to start these crucial conversations. Of course, having a bunch of kids running around might ruin the picturesque quality of a party, but Instagram’s loss is our kids’ gain.
And that brings us to one word of warning:
What are we celebrating?
Gender-reveal parties offer opportunities for us to engage our culture for the glory of Christ. In doing so, however, we have to caution ourselves against the opposite: forming occasions to seek our own glory.
Gender-reveal celebrations shouldn’t be about bolstering the image of parents, getting additional presents, or attracting more Instagram followers. These events should exist to celebrate God’s blessings and to make much of Him.
So as you plan to host, attend, or surf through pictures of the next gender-reveal celebration, ask how you can do so to the glory of Jesus.
After all, God is planning a party for the entire Church to reveal His glory (Revelation 19: 7-9). Let’s engage our celebrations for the same cause and commemorate the bestowal of gender to the glory of the God.
Aaron is associate editor for LifewayResearch.com.