A few years ago, I got a wild hair to throw a Christmas party.

A rather big party, to be exact. My husband thought I had lost my mind. My kids thought I had lost my mind. But I was a woman on a mission with plans that could not be thwarted.

After a come to Jesus meeting with my precious family about the whole Christmas party thing, my people did the only thing they could do: They made popcorn and pulled up a seat to watch their mama actually lose her mind.

I ordered invitations. I mailed the invitations. I cleaned the house. I cooked the food.  I made ten pounds of fudge, one hundred molasses spiced cookies, one hundred chocolate shortbread cookies, caramel corn, marinated olives, fruit trays, veggie trays, and ten pounds of little smoked sausages swimming in bbq sauce. I even ordered a spiral sliced ham and made a couple hundred rolls. I mixed up apple cider and made a hot chocolate bar.

On the day of the party, I  lit the candles and made the tablescapes and at a few minutes before 7, the first guests arrived. For the next three hours, our home was filled with people. The food was eaten. Drinks were spilled. Children cried. Grownups laughed. One little boy ate all the cherry tomatoes while standing over the tray of vegetables.

After the last guests pulled out of the drive and the last candle had pooled into a smear of wax, my dear man turned to me and asked one question.

So, how do you think it went?

I shrugged before answering.

Something was missing. I just can’t put my finger on what that something is right now.

It took me three months of thinking about that Christmas party before the answer came to me.

I had invited all the wrong people.

Frasier Fur

Last year, as soon as the leaves began to turn orange and fall from the trees, I got another wild hair to throw a Christmas party.

A rather big party to be exact.

One with thousands of twinkly lights and a bonfire in the backyard and marshmallows on sticks and roasted hot dogs and piping hot bowls of chili and hundreds of those little store-bought shortbread cookies with the sprinkles baked into them. I imagined a pile of Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes and jars filled with peppermint sticks.

And I imagined last minute, face-to-face invitations shared on the doorstep of every neighbor in my neighborhood.

The kind of invitation with no RSVP, only a We’d love to have you. Please come right now

When I told my dear, sweet man what I was thinking, he grinned and called me crazy.

When I told my precious kiddos what I was thinking, they beamed and called me awesome.

On the day of the party, I strung every donated strand of lights from every fence post in our yard. I put a handful of glittered Christmas trees on each picnic table. I made ten gallons of chicken chili and mixed up an igloo cooler of hot chocolate. I filled large jars with marshmallows for roasting and peppermint sticks for licking. I arranged cookies on trays and stacked Little Debbies in neat little piles. A fire was made in the backyard and sticks prepped for roasting.

At dusk, my dear, sweet man and my precious kiddos made their rounds through the neighborhood and invited everyone they saw.

And as soon as it got dark, everyone with no where else to be gathered under the lights and around the fire.

The children ran wild. The grownups burned marshmallows. Everyone ate chili topped with dollops of sour cream and cheese and roasted hot dogs. Little Debbie Christmas cakes were devoured.

The whole yard reverberated with laughter and joy and the thrill of a people who, for an evening, had felt their worth.

As the fire dwindled to ash and the air became like frost, our neighbors began to make the short walk home and my man turned to me and asked the same question from a few years earlier.

So, how do you think it went?

This time I grinned before answering.

It was perfect. Let’s do it again.

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We’re smack dab in the middle of the season of celebration. Invitations to all sorts of events are likely to be piling up on your counters and on your fridge right alongside all the parties and events you have planned to host.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re already feeling the season closing in so tight around you, you can feel a bit of the joy being squeezed right out.

One invite begets another invite and before we know it, our calendars are filled with parties with the same groups of people who have also been invited to other parties.

Egads! as my grandmother would say.

But in the book of Luke, Jesus gives us a new way of looking at our celebrations, particularly when it comes to our guest lists.

When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. {Luke 14: 12-14}

Jesus is telling us to invite the people who will never be able to invite us to anything. Invite the folks who won’t be invited to one other party all year. Invite the marginalized, the lonely widow from down the street with no family, the greeter at our local Wal-Mart.

Jesus is telling us to simply change our guest list to people who will need some convincing to come.

Not because they might not want to come, but because they can’t believe they are invited.

You’ll be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous, Jesus says. If you celebrate with the least of these.

I know what Jesus says is true, but y’all, I think I’m already reaping some of the blessings He’s talking about.

And I’m counting down the days until this year’s big Christmas party.




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Lori Harris / Posts / Blog
Lori Harris is a Southern born, Texas-missing girl, who is rearing her six kids in a neighborhood some would call the ‘hood. She and her bi-vocational husband have planted Fellowship Bible Church Rocky Mount on the wrong side of the railroad tracks where poverty runs deep and racism even deeper. She coordinates a city-wide MOPS group, passes out PBJs to the neighborhood kids, and brews coffee just to make the house smell like Jesus. She writes at loriharris.me.
  • SimplyDarlene

    i can’t tear away from the image of the little boy eating all the cherry tomatoes 🙂

    November 18th, 2015 9:01
    • Lori Harris

      I still only buy the cherry tomatoes for him, Darlene! He eats them by the handful.

      November 19th, 2015 7:56
  • Katrina

    Oh how I loved this post! And yes, I have tears in my eyes imagining the joy and surprise of those who were invited in such an unexpected act of love and outreach. Just perfect.

    November 18th, 2015 9:20
    • Lori Harris

      Convincing someone that they have been chosen is the best fun ever. Grateful for your presence here!

      November 19th, 2015 7:59
  • Brenda

    This is beautiful. 🙂

    November 18th, 2015 10:39
    • Lori Harris

      Thanks Brenda.
      It was a beautiful night.

      November 19th, 2015 7:59
  • Becky

    I knew there was an idea hovering in the back of my mind for this year’s Holy Day season!!! And this post brought it straight to the front for me to see! Whoopee!!! This girl’s gonna throw a party! Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! My closest neighbor is around 2 miles away, but, hey, they’re still neighbors.

    November 18th, 2015 13:56
    • Lori Harris

      Do it!!!!
      Throw a party as lavishly as you can!

      November 19th, 2015 8:00
  • Leah Adams

    Makes me want to pull out the crock pots and fill them full of chili, build a fire, and say ‘come’. I may just have to do that. Thank you for another post that challenges and blesses me, Lori.

    November 19th, 2015 4:14
    • Lori Harris

      Do it and tell me all about it!
      Love seeing your face here, Leah. ❤️

      November 19th, 2015 8:00
  • Bri McKoy

    Lori – I love your heart! I wish we lived closer but I can pray from afar that God continues to shin bright through you and your beautiful, wild, “crazy” ideas! You are beautiful.

    November 19th, 2015 15:07
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