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.
Psalms 93, 96 or 34
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