Chances are you’ve already been to a holiday party and you may have others looming.  The office party.  The family party.  The cookie exchange. The neighborhood open house.

Me too.

I was out at a party the other night and I had a great time – gorgeous decorations, unbelievable food, fun people, and twinkle lights (how can you not be jolly when there are lots of twinkle lights??!!)IMG_3214But I reflected later that night, looking for times in my day when I sensed the pleasure of Jesus and other times when…welllllll…not so much… (You know, the Examen that I’ve written about before).  I was a bit dismayed.  The party had been a time when I had acted like a self-centered toddler, putting my fingers in my ears so I could ignore the whispers of the Holy Spirit.

And you know what the Holy Spirit kept trying to whisper to me that I didn’t want to hear?  “Go love the people on the edges. Go find the lost.  Include the excluded.  Make everyone an insider.”

Out of the corner of my eye I could see people who were uncomfortable, with no one to talk to…those checking their phones, escaping to the bathroom, hovering on the edges alone. Awkward.  But I was having FUN for Pete’s sake!  With delightful people I know!  So I turned away instead of turning towards.  And in doing so I missed the opportunity to party like Jesus – the one who was always seeking out the misfits instead of the cool kids.

As much of an extrovert as I am, there are times when I’m the uncomfortable one…the one looking for a friendly face…a lifeline…anyone I might recognize.  But I think often in those moments, God’s word to me is the same – “Find someone looking more lost and lonely than you and try to put them at ease. stick out your hand and say, “I don’t think we’ve met yet.  I could use a friend here…you too?”

So, just a thought as we head into the weekend.  Maybe consider praying before you go to your next party and ask for the gift of noticing the not-noticed, and choosing to party like Jesus.