Anxious to join the festivities and meet Chelsea’s “Prince Charming,” my husband and I planned our 580 mile trip to witness the marriage of our oldest niece. The bride-to-be expressed appreciation that we’d accepted invitations to the rehearsal dinner and wedding.
The morning of her big day, my niece texted to say, “Aunt Jeannie, would you like to be here at two o’clock when I put on my wedding dress? You’ve known me all of my life. Only a few people have known me that long because we moved out of state when I was young. Please come if you can.”
“Yes, I’d love to,” was my immediate response.
As we headed to Chelsea’s house, memories surfaced. Yes, I’d known her all of her life. I’d attended a baby shower for my sister-in-law, and days later at the hospital, I held a tiny infant, my brother’s firstborn, moments after she was born. With a mop of dark hair and gorgeous eyes, she won our hearts instantly.
I watched her learn to walk, helped her play dress-up, observed her opening Christmas gifts, and talked with her on the phone each birthday of her life. I can almost hear her giggle when I browse family photos.
As with my own children, Chelsea’s growing up seemed to happen quickly. Her parents shared milestones as she progressed through school, played basketball, styled her friends’ hair, and accepted Christ (the best news of all.)
As she approached adulthood, she called and texted to share news about college, jobs, and starting her own business . When I received Chelsea’s high school graduation announcement, I was stunned to realize she was almost eighteen years old.
Now, a few years later, another invitation . . . to come watch her prepare for the most anticipated day of her life. I had expected the beautiful gold and cream colored card in the mail to give us wedding details, but this invitation was a gift that thrilled my heart. What an honor that she would include me in this special moment! (Her mom and three sisters were there to share the joy and assist her. She didn’t need my help; she wanted my presence.) My visit made the wedding even more special.
Printed or email invitations issued with love offer proof of acceptance and of someone desiring our company. They are often posted on the bulletin board or placed on the refrigerator with a magnet. They’re important and they’re meaningful. Even when we cannot attend an event, it’s nice to be included.
Spoken invitations promote friendships, family love, and a sense of welcome. Asking a new church member or employee to join us for lunch is inclusive and prevents isolation. Inviting an elderly relative or someone grieving the loss of a loved one to accompany us on a drive or share a meal can fill lonely hours. Simply requesting lunch with a friend allows us to share life with others and build close relationships. Does someone need your invitation this week?
As endearing as my niece’s invitation was, the greatest invitation I’ve received is one offered to each of us by God, an invitation to a life-long and eternal relationship with Him. John 1:12 (NKJV) reads, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” He invites us to accept Jesus, who paid for our sin on the cross, and give our life to Him as Savior and Lord . What an “inviting invitation!”
So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
–2 Peter 1:10 The Message