Everyone was gathering for the birthday party. All was set. The dining room was perfectly decorated. She had out her best tablecloth, the fancy lace one. Red crepe paper decked the room and there were party favors, little hats with each one’s name, balloons and whistles. It was all too wonderful to be true. The perfect birthday party.
In the center of the table sat the cake with “Happy Birthday” and beautiful decorations dotting the chocolate icing. She lit the candles and all was made ready. There seemed to be something missing, though she couldn’t figure out what. She dismissed those feelings to attend to those she had invited for this special occasion.
Then, it happened. The strangest birthday party ever. Each sang “Happy Birthday”, but used their own name instead of the Honored Guest’s, whoever that was. Kind of rude of him not to show, she thought. The presents they brought were not for the person in whose honor the party was being given, but for themselves.
She was busy serving those who came, cleaning up messes and making sure every person was taken care of. Something still nagged at her, though. It seemed she was forgetting something or maybe someone. She went down the list of party favors, refreshments, gifts.
Then she gasped. “I couldn’t have forgotten,” she cried. Her eyes searched frantically around the packed house to find him for she had forgotten, caught up in the excitement of the moment.
But, he was nowhere to be found. There was a sort-of noted silent absence yet, she knew. She had a feeling. She knew he was there somewhere. She knew even though in her haste she hadn’t extended the invitation. She knew he was there.
Then, the guests left each with his gift to himself or herself, but also secretly eyeing their neighbor’s. She, too, tired from the excitement of the day wrapped herself in the new cashmere bathroom robe she’d given herself and went to bed.
When the room was dark except for a glimmer from the streetlight cascading through the window, almost like a special star or sign in the sky, He came out to see if there was any cake left. After all, it was His birthday party, but sadly it had all been gobbled up except for a few crumbs.
Slowly He ran His finger over the morsels, mushing them on His fingertip and then, placing them on His tongue savoring the taste that others had taken for granted and probably not even tasted in their haste to get more, always more.
Looking around He saw the beautiful gold, silver and red metallic wrapping paper, the perfectly designed matching bows, and various pieces of tissue paper all torn and ripped as people had dug into the gifts in a torrent and thrown the boxes here, there and yon in their haste to see what was in there for them, even though they already knew because they had brought them for themselves. He shook His head. Always thinking of themselves, never for others. It made Him … sad. The room felt empty, void of any essence of love, joy or peace leftover from the party.
There was a palatable feeling in the air, though. It was hunger. Hunger for more overshadowed the essence of things He brought into the room with His presence. Hungry they came and hungry they left. The food and presents did nothing to satisfy the real hunger inside them. If He had been there perhaps He could have made them understand that their hunger could be filled, but to do so would take a paradigm shift of magnanimous proportions.
He sat in the middle of the disarray and bowed His head. Then, lifting His face to the heavens, softly He sang to Himself for no one else was there to listen. “Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus. Happy Birthday to Me …”
And a tear trickled down His face. He was crying not for Himself, but for all the lives He could have touched had they only invited Him and wanted Him there.
Today, if you haven’t invited Him in or if you have gotten to the place where you are ignoring what He wants from you, understand there is still time. Invite Him to come back and take His rightful place as the Honored Guest in your life. It’s His free gift to you. He is as close as a prayer away.
Pray this prayer: Dear Jesus, I have ignored You and I am so very sorry. I know You are there. I know Your plans for my life are for good and not disaster. I repent of my wanderings. I give myself completely to You this Christmas and forever. I am Yours. Amen.
If you accepted the free gift of salvation through belief on Jesus Christ, renewed your relationship with Him, or surrendered anew to Him, let us know in the comments.
@2021 Teresa Shields Parker