“Can I have a party?” said my almost eight-year-old.

Inwardly I groaned as I thought of the noise, the mess and the expense. Yet I know most children love parties and so does God.

The Bible is dotted with various parties and celebrations. In the Old Testament, God instituted seven festivals and in Nehemiah’s time, we read an account of the Israelites celebrating one of these occasions with music, dancing and great joy. The first Christmas was a celebration. Angels appeared, people gathered and shepherds rejoiced as they celebrated God’s intervention in the affairs of man.

Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding which enabled the festivities to continue and the last scene in the Bible is also a wedding. Then there will again be much joy because evil will be conquered and suffering will end.

However, not everybody who receives an invitation comes to our celebrations, and so it is with God. Through Christ, God has invited everyone to experience his gift of salvation. The invitation is inclusive because God desires to be in relationship with us. Nevertheless, our response is up to us. He won’t coerce us to come.

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