Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Christmas Tea Experience

Last month a good friend of mine invited me to a women’s Christmas tea. I really enjoy these things and this was a friend that I don’t see as often as I would like to, so I was really looking forward to this event. The tea ended up being more meaningful than I could have ever imagined.

The event was being hosted by a large church in our area. I’ve been to a few teas before, but never something like this one. As we walked in the front door we were overwhelmed by the amount of tables set up with items including jewelry, lotions, candles and everything you can think of to purchase. All the tables were beautifully decorated and there was even a chocolate fountain for everyone to dip marshmallows and pieces of cake in! Then we walked into the room where the tea was being served. Men from the church were dressed in tuxedos serving us, there was a man playing Christmas carols on a pan flute and there were beautiful Christmas decorations everywhere! Many of the women were dressed in gorgeous gowns and I must admit, it was absolutely beautiful (and the food was delicious!)

Then the program started, filled with beautiful music and dancing. I’ve been to teas before where they’ve given out little gifts. At this one they started telling us about what they had set aside for us to take home. There was a beautiful chocolate covered graham cracker with an angel on it, a silver heart necklace, and tickets to a Christmas performance at the church. On top of that they informed us that we were to take home the porcelain napkin holder, teacup and saucer that we were using.

While I should have been overwhelmed by their generosity, all I could think about was how much money it must have cost them to put this together and how the money could have been used on something else, to help those less fortunate than us. I found myself start thinking about how the real meaning of Christmas was being lost, that these women were more worried about pampering themselves than helping those who need help. From there I started wondering how close these women’s walk with the Lord really was, since they seemed to have their priorities messed up.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should try to be martyrs all the time, nor can I say that I don’t do things to pamper myself. I was just so overwhelmed with this tea and the amount of time and money that had to have gone into the event.

As I’m thinking these things, one of the women got up and started talking to us about God. All of a sudden I heard the Lord start to reprimand me. He showed me very clearly that this woman knew and loved the Lord just as much as me and that I did not have the right to judge these women. I’ve mentioned before that I do not attend “traditional” church. I am part of a house church or a church without walls as some call it. A lot of times when I explain this to people I feel as if they are judging me and trying to convince me to come to their church because in their minds what I’m doing is not really church. God showed me that day that I was doing the exact same thing to these women. Just because they did not “do church” the same way I did, I was judging them. I was no better than those people who have implied that I was not following the Lord because of how I chose to worship Him and fellowship with others.

That really humbled me. I wanted to just sit there and weep. But our God is wonderful and merciful. In the same moment that He showed me how I was judging others, He also showed His love for me.

I’ve been on a journey lately to discover how the Lord really sees me. I have trouble imagining the God of the universe loving and pursuing me. I’ve been asking Him lately to open my eyes to how He is romancing me.

As I sat there that day, realizing that I was doing to these women exactly what others have done to me, the Lord also opened my eyes to His love for me. The woman talking and telling us about what gifts they had for us was telling us that the Lord loved us and we were all special to Him. She said the tea was their way of pampering us and showing us God’s love. As she was speaking these words, I clearly heard the Lord tell me

“Angela, I love you. I am using these women and this event to show you how very much I love you. I am romancing you right now. Open your heart and accept it. Don’t deny me this opportunity to love you. Don’t judge them based on what you think is right or wrong and miss out on what I am trying to give to you.”

It is amazing how we can take something the Lord means to use to show us His love and twist it into something we judge others regarding. And it is even more amazing how the Lord can teach us a lesson, reprimand us and at the same time show us how very much He loves us.

Is there something in your life the Lord is trying to use to bless you, but you are not allowing it? The Lord wants us to learn to love others and sacrifice for others. However, we also need to allow others to love and sacrifice for us. If we don’t we may not only be missing something special and amazing the Lord has for us, we may also be keeping someone else from serving the Lord by serving us.


Tanya said... you Ang!!! Merry CHRISTmas! XO

Lynn / vigilant20 said...

Merry Christmas!

Vero said...

Its wonderful how the Lord comes to us in different ways....I had a similar experience. Wow!!! Your story was wonderful.