Friday, December 14, 2012

Life of the Party

The wedding at CanaIt's the Christmas season, and you know what that means.  Parties!  From open houses to parties at church and work, the holidays are full of celebrations.  Me?  I like going to a good party, but planning and hosting one is another matter.  I tend to get entirely too wrapped up in the details.  Helene's post about all the judges out there really hit home.  Every time I plan any kind of event, be it supper with another family or a big party, I have a list of worries.  Is the food good?  Are they having a good time? Am I boring?  Is the toilet clean?  Can anyone see a speck of trash on the floor?  Having such a big list of social concerns myself, I can understand how the "wedding planner" of the party in Cana felt when he ran out of wine (John 2).

Can you put yourself in his place?  I've read that wedding parties often lasted several days, even a week in those days.  Imagine hosting a week long party, being responsible for the food and drink for many people over so many days.  It's enough to make me dizzy!  At first, the wedding party seemed to go on well, then the unthinkable happened: the wine ran out.  I imagine the host feeling humiliated.  "How could I have miscalculated so badly?  What am I going to do now?"  It isn't as if they could run down to the Kroger and buy more wine!  While the host was still agonizing, an unlikely person comes to the rescue.

We have no indication that Jesus's mother, Mary, was anything more than an invited guest at the wedding.  She had no obligation to the host to help his party be a success, but she had compassion for those in need. Rather than complain that the wine had run out and gossip about the social awkwardness of the host, Mary found someone that could help.

I've always found it interesting that Mary appears to ignore Jesus completely when he says, "What does that have to do with us?" (John 2:4).  She doesn't answer him or back down; she just tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says.  I'm not sure if she is just using her prerogative as Mama, or if she just knows Jesus well enough to know that he'll help.  Either way, Jesus lives up to her expectations.  He turns over 150 gallons of water into the best wine the headwaiter had ever tasted.  A social gaffe is avoided, and the party goes on.

In this season of parties, I want to challenge you to be like Mary.  You don't have to host a party to make sure that every party you attend goes smoothly.  I know we don't have the Son of God around to miraculously turn things around for us.  However, we do have Kroger!  If you notice the punch bowl running low, don't go back to your seat and grumble to yourself about how thirsty you are.  Find out if you can help fill the bowl back up!  Find out if your host needs help with the food or the cleaning before the party starts.  Awkward silences?  Help get the conversation going!  There are lots of ways to help a party go well, and everyone will thank you for it.

Now to clean that toilet... 

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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