Friday, August 10, 2012

The Giftless Birthday Party

When Mom set the grocery bags on the table, her eyebrows looked like a capital V. “Do you know anything about Jenny running down our driveway, crying?” she said.

I was too young to have honed my lying methods. I opened my eyes as large as I could, but I think my voice rising two notches gave me away. “No, Mom, I have no idea.”
“I think you do, young lady. Jenny was sobbing like she’d lost her last friend when I drove up just now. Either you tell me what happened, or you can march up to your room and stay there ‘til you’re ready to talk.”
I emptied both lungs with a sigh and plopped down on the couch. “Well... maybe she was upset because I invited her to my birthday party, and when she asked if she had to bring a gift, I said, “yes.’”
Mom’s eyes flashed fire. “You didn’t! Jeanette, you know good and well that her grandma is raising Jenny. She can barely afford to put food on the table, let alone buy a present for a seven-year-old with too many toys already. You go right down there and apologize to Jenny. Tell her she is welcome to your party, and she doesn’t need to bring a gift. Parties are not for presents, anyway. They are for celebrating friends, and you won’t have any left if you keep that selfish attitude.”
Now it was my turn to cry. How could I face Jenny, and confess that my penchant for presents carried me away? Lying was out; I saw how well that worked. So I trudged the half a block down the street and rang the bell, gulping back my tears, and  re-invited Jenny to my party. Thankfully, she accepted, or Mom would still be mad at me.

Did you know that Jesus is planning a party for all His friends? It’s called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. You can read about it in Revelation 19. I’m sure it will be one huge shindig of a celebration.
And unlike me at age seven, Jesus isn’t expecting fancy gifts from us.
That may surprise some people. They thought that to get into Heaven, they had to do a certain number of good deeds, or give so many dollars to charity. But Jesus has already paid for the entire party. He’s the one giving us the gift of eternal fellowship with God. It cost Him dearly—His very life—and I know He’ll be disappointed if you don’t show up.

Oh, there is one little present all of us need to bring to get into Jesus’ party. Our hearts. But when you think of all He’s done for us, it’s not that much to ask, really.
After my seventh birthday party—which included Jenny—we moved away and I lost track of her. I can only hope she’s discovered about Jesus’ party, and that I’ll see her there. And neither of us will be crying.
P.S. I'm having a birthday party for myself tomorrow, even though my birthday isn't 'til Tuesday. I didn't demand one present. Are you proud of me?


  1. I love this post, Jeanette! I hope you have a great time at your birthday party and I really do hope you'll receive some gifts:) Wishing you many blessings on Tuesday with many more in the year ahead.

    Smiles and hugs,

    1. Barb: You are sweeter than a strawberry bouquet! Thanks for the well wishes.

  2. I am proud of you. :) Glad you've grown in wisdom and grace.

    Happy Birthday!

  3. Jeanette:We all have memories of doing things that caused pain to others. I'm thankful Jesus forgives us. The concept of having a birthday party for celebrating with friends got lost somewhere in our growing up. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your mother taught you well.

  4. A beautiful story! People are the gifts. Have a wonderful birthday party tomorrow!

    1. Wow, wish I wouldn've thought of that, Lynn. People are the gifts. So right!

  5. Well, happy birthday. Hope it is a great one. I loved your story about Jenny. I'm sure you all had a great time.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I don't even remember the party; only that I got in major trouble for being so selfish. It taught me a great lesson.


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