Today’s Reading: John 18:8-9 (NIV)
8 “I told you that I am He,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words He had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
My husband and children surprised me last night with a 50th birthday party! It came at a time when I least expected it. The Thanksgiving weekend is such a busy time. I can hardly believe they were able to secretly plan and throw a party over the Thanksgiving holiday. When we arrived at the church to supposedly check out a security alarm problem, I had no idea it had been set off by my family and dear friends, who were awaiting my arrival in the church’s fellowship hall. I could hear the coffeehouse music floating through the stairwell, and I wondered what was going on downstairs. It was the first inkling I had that something very special was about to happen. Sometimes, the miracle is standing right in front of us and we have absolutely no idea what it is.
My eighty-six year old mother was there, courtesy of my sister, niece and her fiancé. I couldn’t help but imagine the joy she must have felt knowing her daughter had survived to enjoy her fiftieth birthday. I thanked her for making all of this possible. Our grandchildren were dancing to the music and playing with their cousins. My in-laws were there, sitting next to my sister-in-law, my nieces and nephew, great niece, and some very dear friends whom I have adopted into my extended family. Sister-in-law Gail had forgotten that she had attended my 16th birthday party thirty-four years ago, in the basement of her family home. Jeff had arranged for our church’s youth group to have a surprise party for me. Gail was my Sunday school teacher then and she and her boyfriend (now husband) Bruce, were our youth group sponsors. I know that we are aging toward perfection, but when I look at my sister-in-law today, I still see that same incredibly youthful spirit in her. Teaching school all these years has certainly kept her heart young.
We feasted on Bandana’s barbecue and a beautifully decorated birthday cake. Colorful balloon sprays and brightly colored party decorations made the fellowship hall a festive place to be. I received my first official red hat! I’ve waited my entire life to be 50. Now I can proudly wear my red hat and purple suit in style! I’m not only a senior in college, but I have crossed over into the world of senior citizen according to the AARP. The next 50 years of my life are going to be absolutely awesome!
Our son Benjamin captured the cake consumption on film. I am told there is blackmail material lurking in these pictures. It is definitely a scrapbook moment. Eighteen-month old Andrew decided not to wait for a fork before he picked up the entire piece of cake with his fingers and began to stuff his mouth. That boy enjoys eating his cake! And I think Andrew has the right objective in mind.
How many times are we surprised by the words of Christ? We read His Word daily, we hear His Word spoken, and yet, He completely surprises us time and time again. Jesus knew that even when we least expected it, He would be there to reclaim the ones He had been given. Jesus knew His presence with them would be misunderstood. While the people may not fully understand now His reason for living and dying, by His perfect sacrifice, the world was about to receive the biggest and best new-birth day surprise of all.
A brand new life is awaiting your arrival. Can you hear the music playing? The redeemed are waiting to welcome you home. Will you choose to open the door of faith and step into your new-birth day surprise?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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