Janet, whose birthday was on April 2nd, went out with a group of friends tonight, several of whom she has known for almost thirty years, for a celebratory birthday dinner. It’s just something the group does. Each time a member of the group has a birthday, everyone gets together to celebrate. There’re not real specific about the actual date of the birthday, because people travel and have scheduling conflicts, etc. so they get together when it is convenient and everyone is in town. That’s why Janet’s birthday dinner occurred tonight – more than a week after the actual date.
What’s more, it is one of the nicest groups of women you could ever meet. They are all first rate ladies; I have come to know all of them throughout the years. Quite honestly, it’s tough to make a statement like that about most groups of people – but it’s true. I like to think that part of is that Janet attracts people who are like her – easily likable, top caliber people – women who genuinely care for one another and share life experiences together over a period of decades.
Normally, I don’t hear too much about these dinners. They’ve gone on for so many years now that they are just a part of the fabric of Janet’s life. Every so often, I’ll hear a word or two, but that’s about it. Except tonight. Because Janet came home tonight with two gifts from the ladies.
First of all, one member of the group, a devoted follower of TBTB, found Janet a bag of her beloved Chocolate Rocks! Janet was thrilled. Then, Janet showed me a second gift – a beautiful porcelain rose. Admittedly, it was a thoughtful gift from the group of women. But I was kind of surprised. Because it was the kind of gift I would never have thought of – and yet, Janet was really taken with the gift. She couldn’t wait to show me.
I asked a few questions, but my curiosity was cleared up when Janet let me know that as each member of the group celebrates a certain benchmark birthday, which I have sworn to not reveal, they are presented with a red porcelain rose. So everybody knows that throughout the years, eventually, each lady will receive her rose. It’s a beautiful sentiment. A number of women have already received their special recognition gift, but tonight was Janet’s night….. and I understand that there are still two women yet to celebrate their big year!
Even though Janet apparently surmised that she would get her rose tonight, she was really touched – like she had become a member of an exclusive club. And to think that everybody shared in the joy of the occasion. She’s already thinking about where she wants to display this deeply personal gift from her friends.
Even though I have known these women for years, and Janet has been doing these dinners forever, I never even heard about the rose ceremony gift until tonight. I was really surprised that this has been going on for so long and I didn’t know anything about it.
But then, I thought about something else. I was reminded of the Bible and how we are told that heaven celebrates whenever a sinner repents and accepts Christ. Those of us on earth are joyful and celebrate when someone believes and accepts the free gift of eternal life – but we really don’t think too much about what happens in the throne room of God when someone makes a decision for Christ. Kind of like Janet and her friends having dinner – I know it’s going on, but I never knew what went on behind the scenes.
But God loves it when someone makes a choice for His Son – when they join that exclusive club and come “of age.” The angels sing, and all heaven cries out in joyful celebration. The verse for tonight comes from Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God rejoices when we help others join the family of believers. And my prayer is that you will do your part to help welcome and celebrate the choice by people to dedicate their lives to God. It’s an important choice and I hope that you will remember the joy you felt the day you were welcomed into the club – after all, God and the angels all rejoiced. Some day, they will tell you about it in person. Grace and peace,