Sunday, November 6, 2011

Will You Be Attending?

Luke 14:16
Then Jesus said to him, "Someone gave a great dinner and invited many.

My children both have summer birthdays. When they were old enough to invite friends over for birthday parties, we encountered a rude awakening. People were on vacation!

My son, Daniel, whose birthday is July 5th, experienced a particularly difficult time rounding up enough guests to even call the event a party. For his eighth birthday, we sent out at least 15 invitations to his friends from school and church. Only four were able to attend.

Daniel was crestfallen.

I must confess, I was relieved. The thoughts I had entertained over those two weeks prior to his party of fifteen little boys . . . Tanked on soda. High on sugar. Racing through my house and yard with wilder abandon than the Lost Boys . . .

Now, there would only be five, including my son. My very heartbroken and disappointed son.

His thoughts, of course, had been so different from mine. He had dreamed of pizza and cake, games of hide and seek and Ninja Turtle wars in our woods, and mountains of gifts.

Poof! Up in smoke!

His tears were too much to bear. I gave him the most comforting hug I could, but I knew this wouldn't come close to putting things to right. I had to come up with something . . .

By breakfast the following day, I had the answer.

"Daniel," I began as he munched on his Cheerios, "I've been thinking about this birthday party business, and I think I have an idea of how we can make it go swimmingly."

He stopped, mid-chew. He looked up at me, his sky-blue eyes brimming with hope. I gave him a wink. A smile engulfed his face as it dawned on him.

"Mom! You're taking us swimming? REALLY???"

"Really! I've already talked to all the parents and made all the arrangements."

Daniel jumped up and threw his arms around me.

"Thanks, Mom! This will be the best birthday ever!"

But, it wasn't.

Because, the following year, I hosted parties for both my children before school was over, before everyone scattered to the four winds.

The invitations flowed. The parties were generously attended. My children were overjoyed. I was overtired.

But, it was well worth every crazy, kid-filled moment!

~

God has prepared a banquet for you. He has sent out the invitations and they are many. Will you be attending or will you be on vacation?

Let us pray: Help us, Lord, to never miss an opportunity to feast on Your word and celebrate Your divine presence in our lives. Let us receive Your invitation with joy and gladness of heart. May we accept graciously, knowing Your party is the only one that truly matters. Amen.

I give thanks today for my parents, Bill and Nancy, and my mother-in-law, Mimi.

Readings
Psalms 93, 96 or 34
Ezra 10:1-17
Acts 24:10-21
Luke 14:12-24

15 comments:

  1. I can so relate to this post! My oldest daughter's birthday is June 12th and the worst birthday party I ever hosted was the year she was in 5th grade and 'graduating' to middle school the next year. Because her birthday was in the summer, we planned an early party and I let several (seems like a zillion) girls come home with her on the bus for a spend the night party. They spent the whole evening in girl drama mode, crying and calling friends to tell them how sad they were that elementary school was over and they would NEVER see them again. It was miserable and I thought the night would never end...

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  2. Am attending, Marth! Fun and yet so rich a word from you! I can relate to all you said having raised 3 kids to teens!!haha

    God bless your worship Sunday sister!
    Bernie

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  3. Your post brought back a memory for me. Along about 6th or 7th grade, my birthday was coming up in April. I did not invite very many kids. I just invited those few who were my best friends. But when I asked Ross, whom you may remember, his answer stuck me in the gut. He said, yes, but then said, "We don't have to bring a present do we?" I was a bit stunned by that, but I did say, no, that he didn't have to bring a present, that I wasn't looking for presents. Still puzzled by that, but committed to stick by that principle, I went to.each other whom I invited and specifically told them NOT to bring presents.

    So the party comes about, and here come all my good friends, without presents, except Ross, who brought me a tropical fish for my aquarium! That was just wierd! I told him that he didn't need to bring a present. Ross said, "I was just kidding. You can't have a birthday without presents!"

    Now to this day, I'm not sure the moral I take from that experience. But I think I did the right thing. Maybe it is that birthdays should be about celebration of life itself, not what we receive during life. Only life extends beyond the brink. All else scatters to the wind.

    Maybe I will read some Ecclesiastes this morning.

    Thanks for jogging my memory.

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  4. Hi, Lynne, Bernie, and Hank! Thanks so much for stopping by this morning and leaving your own amazing memories.
    @Lynne - Oh, the drama! Give me boys anytime! :) I know you were relieved when they all went home.
    @Bernie - Three teens! Wow! That is a challenge with which I am all too familiar . . .
    @Hank - Yes, I do remember Ross very well. Did you know he ended up being a fireman? Strange about the present, though. He was always a bit quirky and had a wry sense of humor that some of us, including me, didn't get at the time. And, yes, birthdays should, first and foremost, be a celebration of life itself, the blessed life God has given to us.

    Blessings to you all!

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  5. I am never too busy for God...count me in! :) Great post. And I could relate to your kids...my birthday is in July! Summer birthdays can be tricky ;)

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  6. Hi, Jessica!
    I know I'll see you at the banquet!:)
    Oh, yes, those summer birthdays are always a challenge. So glad you could relate to this.
    Looking forward to reading your new post shortly!

    Blessings!

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  7. I seem to be on vacation...As always....XOXOXOXO

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  8. What wonderful stories of your children and how you made it alright for them. <3<3<3 Jan

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  9. Hi, Bonnie and Jan! Thanks for stopping by!
    @Bonnie - Like Motel 6, we'll leave the light on for you!
    @Jan - thanks so much for the compliments!

    Blessings to you both!

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  10. I can certainly relate as my birthday is December 26 and not many folks are around the day after Xmas. So glad you got creative and ensured Daniel got the wonderful birthday he deserved...

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  11. Thanks for stopping by, David!
    Wow! An almost-Christmas birthday. My dad's is actually on Christmas Day. In and around, though, the holiday sure takes the wind out of the birthday sails. Hope you do have some memorable parties, though?
    Thanks for your kind words!

    Blessings!

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  12. Man, Martha is on a roll here!! haha....This is great, folks - Hank, Martha and Jessica!

    Hey Jessica! What day in July? My birthday is July 2...and my son Bernie III is July 6.

    God bless you everyone here!!!

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  13. Our childrens birthdays, so exciting but also nerve wrecking. This year my baby is 17 and will then be able to take driving lessns and nag a first car out of her daddy, the eldest will be 21 and a special party for a special girl is a must do for me. May call on you for organisational advise, otherwise i may be the only one there

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  14. Martha, because both of my brothers and I all have summer birthdays (July 13, July 22 and August 12), one summer my mother decided to have just one party and invited everyone on the street to come. It was a pretty big turnout, considering. I remember everyone played in the backyard. I imagine there cake and ice cream was served. It's been so long I don't remember presents.

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