Waiting For The Party To Begin

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We were with friends. We blew up balloons. We laughed. We hugged. We talked about our kids. We talked to each others kids. We visited and caught up on what was going on in our lives. We were with people we loved.

Then we each picked up a balloon and hid. The children were on the balcony overlooking the doorway. The adults hid in the far part of the room in the dark shadows. We were supposed to be quiet, but there was joking and whispering and shushing. We were all waiting for the moment our beloved and honored guest would enter the building and the party would begin.

After several false alarms about our honored guest approaching, my wife Donna leaned over and whispered in my ear, "You know, this would make a good HEARTLIGHT article. This is what our Christian life is like. We're all waiting around for Jesus to return and the party to begin."

Of course she was right. Our walk of faith, our Christian discipleship, our life in Christ's Church is like a surprise party before the honored guest arrives. We're with people we love and care about immensely. We can't wait for the honored guest to arrive and for the party to begin. That doesn't mean, however, that we're going to waste the time before our honored guest arrives. It doesn't mean that we'll not enjoy ourselves and each other in the meantime. But nothing we do before the party begins compares with the party itself. That's part of what makes the waiting fun and worth the wait. We know that no matter how good it is now, it's only going to get better. No matter how uncomfortable we are in the dark waiting, when the honored guest arrives, we'll throw on the lights, pass out the cake, and have a party. The waiting will be over.

One of the great hallmarks of the early Church was its expectation that Jesus could return at any moment. Let's not lose that expectation. When we quit expecting Jesus, we soon forget about the party. The wait we get stuck in becomes more important than the arrival of our Lord. The people we find ourselves in the room with get boring and irritating. The dark shadows surrounding us become more ominous and tiresome. Instead of looking forward to the Savior and his party, we find ourselves "having to go to church."

We're only in waiting. The Savior hasn't arrived. The party hasn't started. The best is yet to be. We're only waiting for the party to begin.

"They're here!" someone excitedly whispers, "I can see them coming down the walk."

The door opens and we all yell, "SURPRISE!" Balloons fly, the lights come on, the cake is cut, and the ice creamed is served. Our wait is over. It's time for the party to begin.