‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, and B had a thought:
“I’ll throw a Christmas party! I’d like that a lot!”
She set a date, she made invitations,
she baked sugar cookies and bought decorations.
The day was approaching, the excitement grew.
Only one day to go, and next thing she knew…
Eight of the eleven guests, including the co-host, were no longer attending. Babysitting, sports practice, doctors appointment, family trip, friends visiting, prior commitments – one thing after another. But at least three were still eager to attend! (Despite the fact that two of them were twin sisters…)
By afternoon of, I was so desperately trying to save the party that I was inviting people three hours before it started. One of them didn’t even respond to my text message. I only scored one extra person, for a grand total of four party guests.
At this point, it was after 4pm, and with the party starting at 5, I had to just suck it up. So I set up my Christmas-themed photo backdrop, organized a Keurig hot chocolate bar, and colored the frosting for cookie decorating. (I know, I’m tacky.)
5pm: nothing. 5:15: nothing. 5:30: nothing. By this point, I was literally begging my sister to put on an ugly sweater and be a part of my dying party. After about an hour, two people showed up. The other two arrived about twenty minutes later.
The party of five then attempted a white elephant gift exchange. Well, one of them had been invited literally hours before and had not brought a gift. And as previously mentioned, two of the remaining girls were twins, so they brought identical presents. That left me and the fourth girl. Needless to say, there was a bit of an issue here. It is impossible to successfully do a white elephant when there is a large chance you will be sending people home with the gifts they brought. So, the fourth girl and I each grabbed one of the twins’ gifts and tossed ours to them. (Maybe now is a good time to mention that the fourth girl’s gift was wrapped in a plastic Target bag.)
Then came movie time. You can’t screw up watching a Christmas movie, right? Apparently you can when one guest has already left and the remaining party is so tired that they can hardly keep their eyes open through the whole thing.
And not a soul wanted hot chocolate, so my cute striped straws, matching mugs, and topping jars went untouched.
It’s a good thing I have such great friends because it was probably the lamest Christmas party ever. It wasn’t even a party, really. It was a casual evening spent with a few – emphasis on the word few – friends wearing goofy sweaters.
However, we did have a blast decorating (and eating) cookies, taking pictures, and being the weirdest group of friends you have ever seen.
All in all, it was a success, even though it was not exactly the party I had planned. But in all honesty, I probably had a better time with those four great gals than I would’ve in a room full of people.
And I think God knew that.
My original guest list had included practically anyone and everyone I would or could consider a friend, mostly because I subconsciously wanted to prove to myself that I was popular enough to create an exciting social life. The truth, though, is that less than half of the invitees were my real, close friends. They were acquaintances with whom I’d had a class or two in school, or friends of friends whom I occasionally spent time with in a group setting. They were all wonderful girls, of course, but I wasn’t focused solely on who I had built intimate friendships with; in fact, I just wanted a bunch of people to participate in my little evening so that I could feel like I had a big group of friends.
Looking back on it now, I can’t imagine how the evening would’ve gone down had everyone actually shown up. I imagine it would’ve felt forced and unnatural. Thank goodness the big man upstairs stepped in and took the reins from me.
God knew that my attention-starved ego had turned my focus to my popularity, to the number of people I could get to attend my event, to the shallow things like the grandeur of my party planning skills.
So God did some rearranging. He kept a few and added a few more. Little did I know that the four girls that would show up that night would be some of the most influential people in my life down the road. They were with me every step of the way in my walk with God, and they’re still by my side now. We’ve cried together, laughed together, and experienced some of our most powerful moments together. God knew that most of the people I had chosen to invite to my silly Christmas party wouldn’t become that in my life, so He created his own guest list.
What I thought was an unfortunate and humiliating crumbling of plans that December night was actually one of the most beautiful formulations of relationships I have ever known.
So trust Him. Even when His plans for you don’t seem quite as glamorous as your own, He knows what He’s doing.
“”For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)
P.S.: And after everyone had gone home, I went and made my self a very cute and delicious mug of hot chocolate.