Friday night began, what I hope will become a holiday tradition for me. This was on my bucket list for many years, a Christmas party in my home for my close friends. It was my way of celebrating the season, having them connect with one another, and give them a night to remember. For is not the season of Christmas the season of giving? This was my gift to me, giving them a forum to enjoy life, celebrate our diversity, and come together in prayer for things that really matter to us all.
The festivities were planned to the utmost. Games were pre-planned by me with details reviewed way too many times. I think my eyes were growing weary reviewing my list to make sure not a thing was remiss. I created the games myself and made certain there was a complicated one, involving the need for a project manager on each team. It was my version of the Great Race in my home, but with activity challenges planned that tied in with the holidays. The groans could be heard around the room as I explained the lay out of their team building/bonding adventure. It went without a hitch and I stood back and reveled in the personalities present, the childlike abandonment of healthy competition among women!
Though the evening was a celebration it was also a time for reflection and pray-ful thought as to what this world truly needs. I could not begin the evening festivities without having a moment of silence and prayer thanking each of them for what they bring to my life and to this world. This was followed by what I felt was the most inspiring dialogue of the evening. Each person was asked to add to an adult Christmas wish list, one item they wish for our world.
As the progression around the room began, each time someone had to reflect on a wish for the world and add to our adult Christmas wish list, the room became somber, thoughtful and silent. Hearts felt heavy with sadness on what is needed in our world. I imagine this is how our Father must feel looking down from the heavens. How can I have created so many people with so many talents and yet they so easily forget to share them or to consider their neighbor’s needs?
Several party goers jokingly asked for tissues. Some commented this seemed too sad to be a part of our party. However, not one person failed to come up with a suggestion that would truly make this world a better place, be closer to what God had envisioned for all his children.
My original thoughts for my blog were to detail this fun evening of love and laughter. After looking at the list in the light of the next day, I knew in my heart what God intended … that is, this list should be shared. When I think of my friends, I want to remember their wishes for the world. They speak volumes … about human compassion, suffering and how to advance our people as we are all interconnected.
Our wish list included the following:
- Peace in the Middle East and an end to senseless fighting and killing of others.
- It included several requests for our military personnel to be able to be home, on safe soil, with their families to enjoy the holidays and live out all the days of their life in stability in the world.
- We also want homeless people to have a place to call “home,” a bed to sleep in and their basic needs met.
- Many felt the spirit of volunteerism needs to be revitalized, asking each of us to carry a torch for something that matters to us as each of us can make a difference and more of us need to try to do just that. No matter how busy are our lives are, we all agreed, volunteerism is the spirit of giving at work.
- A reoccurring theme was the eradication of cancer, of diseases that are killing innocent people often times in a horrific painful way. With all the attention given to media scandals, why cannot this time and attention be spent on saving lives?
- The request was made to add to our growing list to help everyone everywhere be real with each other, leave biases aside and learn to be open and listen with a forgiving mind and loving heart. Someone else expanded on this thought by stating how the world needs to foster more compassion for our fellow man. Think of the difference this would make to our world!
- One of my friends stated a wish she tries to live by, learning to live each day with no regrets at the closing of the day. The power of this request hit everyone present. It would force everyone to think before reacting, and be more deliberate in what we do as to make this world a better place. It implies accountability for our choices and responsibility, virtues that often get lost in the hustle of the everyday live.
- Some spoke of tolerance and of embracing diversity. One friend expanded on this stating her own silent prayer that children everywhere, no matter who or what they are or stand for be given a chance for a rich education and adequate health care so that they can have a future. They are our future, the children of the world.
- Last said but certainly not least was freedom, in every sense of the word. We pray for this civil right for all.
- Yes, my best Christmas gift has already been received. Knowing that I brought friends together and that out of that friendship came so many words of wisdom and reflection for the world warms my soul.
- I know each and everyone present Friday evening will forever remember that experience of sitting still, in a room full of Christmas lights and listening to hearts open up as never before. Strangers became friends in those quiet moments of reflection.
- I wish I could express in writing the power of the moment, the and the impact of the wishes spoken we all felt but anything I write will fall shy of the mark. But, I can say, God was among us. He attended my party. I know God was smiling as we opened our hearts, one by one and let each others prayerful wish list reach our soul. We prayed that night that these wishes stated above, would be heard above all other wish lists for material things. A new vacuum cleaner, a new video game and a gift card are wonderful items but do they change the world?
Please open your heart to pray this holiday season for things that matter and can make our star, this world, shine a little bit brighter!