Are you prepared for your honored guest?
Last night God gave me the honor and privilege of hosting over 20 beautiful women in my home for our church’s annual Christian Women’s Fellowship Christmas Party. It was a joyful celebration of fellowship, fun, food, laughter; and the sharing of both sweet and sad memories.
The house was festively decked in Christmas decor, the food was divine because everyone brought their best dishes, and the ladies were beautiful; coming inside with cheeks flushed pink from the cold, and sparkling eyes looking forward to some time to just be with one another. But why was the night especially warm and inviting? It wasn’t the fire; in fact we had to open the windows because the house got too hot!
After months of migraines and hardship, I was finally well enough to host a party. I did all the usual things a good hostess should do: clean the house, gather family helpers, supply drinks and food, and make sure there’s enough toilet paper in the downstairs bath! We even cleaned out our larger hall closet, so our lovely guests could have a place to hang up their heavy winter coats. We prepared.
Our guests came prepared too! I never feel quite adequate enough when it comes to preparing food for a large group of guests. I am good friends with Costco, which helps me serve cheesecakes, cream puffs, and fancy chocolate holiday cakes! But God had already worked it out. Girlfriends came with loads of delicious baked goods and fancy foods. Longtime friends were there, along with new friends. Friends came who don’t even attend my church; which meant a lot to me. One friend came after just having been in a bad car accident; while another friend, who recently moved, gave me the happy thrill of a surprise visit! I had a full house and heart. There was so much food, even my giant marbled island couldn’t contain the entire feast! It reminded me of how Jesus took two loaves and five fishes and miraculously grew it to feed 5,000 people, with 12 baskets of food left over (Mark 6:30-44). Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that much food , but God definitely did provide a banquet!
Are you prepared for his coming?
The night was complete with joy, because Jesus was our honored guest. He was right in the center, just where he should be. Jesus was the one we talked about when we took a quiet moment for prayer and a devotion. Jesus was discussed when women talked of healed marriages and illnesses, beloved grandchildren, and lives changed for the better. Jesus was the reason for the party, because he really is the reason for the season!
I love taking pictures of everything, but last night I took none, except for the one I asked my daughter to take of our gorgeous group. But that’s okay, because my focus was on my guests and letting them know they are loved. My desire was for each woman to know she was treasured, and wanted as a guest in my home. I know that photos are nice to have after a special event; but the time spent giving hugs, and having real conversations, is even better. Our family had prayed for each lady to have a good time and to know her presence was appreciated. My daughter often reminds me of something I once taught her: “Some things are just meant to be a memory.”
Memories are what went around the room last night; as we laughed over Christmas trees that had been knocked over by children, or shared sorrow with those who had endured the disappointment of difficult Christmases. We had an ornament exchange, which helped spark memories of Christmases past. Whether there was sadness or happiness, one truth remained clear: Though Jesus is a man who knows sorrow, Jesus is really all about joy. Jesus took our sins and pain and sorrow on the cross, so that we can one day live with him in eternal, everlasting joy. For, even in the midst of today’s sorrow, Jesus’ joy is constant, and he will never, ever forsake us.
Are you prepared to worship and adore him?
Because, the celebration is not about you, or me, or how pretty our houses look. It’s not about the food, the decorations, or a swept and vacuumed floor. It is about a baby born to save our souls… that sweet, precious baby who was lying in a manger filled with straw… in a stable which was only fit for animals.
You see, Jesus doesn’t care how perfect your house is, or how fancy your food is! He wants to come into your heart and live there… even though there is dirt, grime, and well, frankly, quite a huge mess to clean! He still wants to come inside, because he wants YOU!
Jesus is a King! Jesus is The King, and he loves YOU! He wants to come into your house, whether the fire is warm and crackling, or whether there’s not a single log left to burn. He wants to come into your messy house, and he is not concerned about whether or not you have even a crust of bread to feed him. He just wants your heart, because he wants to give you the gift of eternal life! He’s knocking on your door, because he loves you!
All you have to do is open the door, and let him in. He will come to your party, even if no one else will. He will even stay and eat with you! The Bible says so! Invite him in, and ask him to forgive your sins, and cleanse and purify you. The best part is that the party never ends! Jesus is the invited guest who never goes home when the party is over. In fact, he will take you to Heaven with him when you die, and you will celebrate new life, forever, in a way your earthly mind could never even imagine!
You may feel you have nothing to offer Jesus, but the silver lining is that Jesus is only interested in your heart! He asks only for us to follow him…. What a simple preparation it is, to receive The Highest Guest of Honor into our hearts and homes! God has made it so easy for us to get ready; there really are no excuses. Are you prepared? Invite him in!
Jesus is The Guest of Honor. Don’t forget to put him at the very top of your guest list!
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20 New International Version).
Is Jesus knocking on the door of your heart? Invite him in!
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