The best party ever

Published 4:46 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Getting ready for a Christmas party without Mike to help me has been an eye opening experience. I got a really early start on decorating and was excited when the house fairly sparkled. One of my friends volunteered to come a few hours early, to help with last-minute details. With her assistance, I knew I would be ready in plenty of time to relax and enjoy my friends.

When the phone rang, I answered with a cheery “hello.” My friend’s voice sounded a little frazzled. Apparently, she had misjudged the time she needed to take care of her own things and would be a little late.

“Laurie, don’t worry about coming early to help. I’ve got things under control. Just come when you’re ready for the party.”

“Are you sure, Jan? I can come over and then go home to get dressed.”

I had been counting on an extra pair of hands, but I knew by Laurie’s voice that she didn’t really have time without pushing herself.

“Yes, I’m sure. Come on over when you’re ready. See you later, but thanks for offering.”

Knowing my tendency to get a little frazzled, around the time for guests to arrive I took preemptive action. I called for help, but this time it was from the One who never overbooks.

“God, you know I need to stay calm and filled with your peace. Help me to get everything done and keep a good attitude. I pray that my guests will feel your presence here.”

I grabbed my coat and headed out the door to pick up my tray of finger sandwiches. The crisp morning air quickly warmed as I pulled into the Winn-Dixie parking lot. I put the car in park, shed my coat, and headed for the deli. Each time I have ordered in the past, my order has been ready and waiting, but this time the lady working the deli apologized profusely. She said, “I’m so sorry. You just wouldn’t believe my day!”

I almost said, “Yes I would, because I’m about to have one of those days myself!” But I didn’t. The Prince of Peace gently urged me to relax and show kindness so instead I smiled and answered, don’t worry. I don’t mind waiting. Relief filled her eyes, and I was glad I had listened to my Father’s voice.

As I waited, a sweet lady I know struck up a conversation. Before I hurried out the door with my sandwich tray, she kindly looked me in the eye and said, “You know your dad was my high school history teacher. He was one of my favorites, and I know he would be so proud of you.”

To be a daddy’s girl whose Dad has been gone a very long time, this touched me on the deepest level. I hurried home with joy glowing in my heart.

Before my guests arrived, the fountain suddenly quit, and my tree lights went out. After spending time searching for the reason the power was off, I realized I didn’t have time to finish everything I had planned. I took a deep breath and put away my pretty plates that would take more time to arrange. I pulled out some paper ones and was ready when the doorbell started ringing. Everything wasn’t just the way I had planned, but I knew God had answered my simple prayer when a guest sent me a message afterward saying she felt the Spirit of Christmas the minute she walked in the front door.

Sometimes life gets hectic, but help is just a prayer away.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at