Blessed: Last, but not least

By Reba Phelps

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The Facebook invitation arrived with an alert and banner on my phone The guests had been meticulously invited. The guest list embodied many different women who were all friends in one way or another through the community, childhood friends, spouses, work and even some blood relation. The babysitters had to be arranged. Schedules had to be cleared once this most important date was announced. This was the second annual all girls ornament extravaganza night.

The prior year’s party was an epic adventure of extreme competitive reindeer games, friendly banter, wine, and truth telling that left all of us requesting a round two.

The party guests were met with the same challenge as the prior year.

“Your ornament game must be strong and your appetizer must be in a festive dish. Attire is anything you wish but PJ’s are preferred”. It sounded simple enough but with this motley crew of Type A personality women the evening could get serious at some point.

The guest list also had the makings of the most interesting LinkedIn career search in Natchitoches Parish. We had Business Owners, an Executive Sales Trainer, a Graduate Assistant, a Bank Vice President and Marketing Director, an Adapted PE Teacher, a Chief Operating Officer, a Purchasing Agent, Regional Sales Manager, an Elected Official (still feels weird saying that), a Hospice Office Manager and a Chief of Communications & Information Technology guest.

Needless to say there was not a shrinking violet present on this night.

I chose to arrive on time this year as last year I wasn’t sure I was attending due to another party I was hosting. It wasn’t until I was individually Facetimed by every single guest reminding me my presence was requested. So, I quickly left my one woman pity party and made my way over there.

Upon arrival at the beautifully decorated home you could feel the excitement in the air. You could taste the holiday cheer in the flavorsome homemade appetizers and the Christmas cocktails served in our hostesses mother’s stained glass heirloom glasses. Which, we were promptly threatened and reminded they were from 1975 and irreplaceable if one did not survive the night we may not survive either.

We sipped with extreme caution and some asked to partake in something a little less sacred.

Soon after grazing and catching up it was time for our reindeer games. We made our way to living room and much to our surprise we were met with a Power Point version of rules and regulations for the forthcoming games. That’s right, our hostess had to speak in a language we all understood. Power Point.

Our first game of the evening consisted of us choosing our favorite candy from a bowl and then we had to perform the duty assigned to the candy. This ranged from a truth or dare situation, telling an embarrassing moment or our favorite thing about each person in the room.

This where the party took a sharp turn into being the most memorable evening. With all of the strong personalities in the room this very game could have gone wrong in 99 different ways. Instead, the friend who first chose the candy associated with this task stood up before the eager crowd and addressed each lady. She described their strengths and the many ways each person had blessed her in her lifetime. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house when she had completed the Power Point task.

Two other friends chose the same piece of candy and they followed suit and chose to lift up every woman in the room. Somewhere in the middle of the reindeer games, my couch partner and local business owner, turned to me and said, “we better see this in an article.”

The next game was the Dirty Santa-style ornament exchange. This was the game we played last year which almost ended in calling local Law Enforcement (or at least one of the husband’s of the party goers).

We drew numbers 1-13. Per the rules clearly established on our Power Point it was deemed whoever had the number 13 was the last person and they could choose to steal or open a new gift. Guess which newly elected, insurance agent, writer-type person was holding the lucky number?

That’s right, it was me.

The game continued with much humor and lots of friendly stealing. My couch partner was my entertainment for the night. She had a chucklesome comment for every lavishly wrapped ornament opened that did not belong to her.

“Watch mine be last.” “It is the best one up there.” “It came from downtown but it’s in a Wal-Greens bag.”

She was correct, her bag was the lonely last one. She had honestly built my curiosity during the night and I had silently hoped no one would choose this lonely gray drugstore bag with awesome downtown ornaments inside. Being true to my personality I had to make the rounds in the room threatening to steal everyone’s coveted ornament.

I finally made my way to lonely humble bag. When I opened the bag I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed thinking….. “Last but not least.” The bag contained two of the most beautiful reminders of what the Christmas season is all about. One of the ornaments proclaimed, “Joy to the World”, while the other one said, “Adore Him”.

My couch partner was absolutely correct in suggesting the night was article-worthy. Anytime 13 “extra” women can gather in one spot and spend the entire night lifting each other up, celebrating their differences and similarities and acknowledge that Jesus is the reason for the season…. it should be well documented.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more you see the day is drawing near.”

Hebrews 10:24-25

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