“Let nothing be done through strife (selfish ambition) or vainglory (conceit); but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”Philippians 2:3-5
I was introduced to my first Christmas work party when I worked for Calumet City in Illinois. I had never experienced a work party before, so I was super excited to go. I had heard legendary stories of these city parties and it was a good time to get your name out there and try to move up a little bit as the mayor and other important people would be there. I invited a good friend of mine as a date, and we made plans to hang out and experience some good food and a good time. I did not know that this night would spoil me as I figured everyone got a nice Christmas party such as this one, and things were never quite like this in the years to come as I later learned. At my next job, we went to a nice restaurant and had dinner but it was something that I partially organized and it was not on the same level as this one.
The first Christmas party with the city set a precedent that I was always hoping to experience again, but it never materialized like that and there were many years I didn’t get a work party at all. When I started working in retail, and I figured they would have a big Christmas bash for their employees as I worked for a massive company. I soon realized that our supposed Christmas party would be the store serving Olive Garden in the break room on Christmas Eve. You would hope you could get a quick break while the food was still hot or else you would get Alfredo Sauce that was coagulated much like it would do in your arteries hours later. I was much displeased with this and I voiced my opinion to my boss, disgruntled with my work situation. I complained and voiced my opinion until God brought something to my mind which rocked my thinking and changed my attitude.
Here I was complaining about a lack of a Christmas party when I had 22+ people who worked for me who did not get a Christmas party either. They made less money than I did and they never complained to me about a Christmas party, but worked hard to accomplish goals. I was convicted by my selfish perspective and actions, and I vowed to make it right. The following year, we held our own Christmas party and I purchased carne asada, carnitas, and tortillas and they brought the sides. Rebekah’s work allotted us some Suns tickets, and we purchased Chick Fil A calendars and movie tickets to give out in a raffle we held. We made sure everybody who attended got a gift, and the food was amazing. The employees worked so hard throughout the year, and I wanted them to know they were appreciated beyond the cold break room food. My anger about not getting a Christmas party turned into joy of serving and giving to others. We held a Christmas party every year until I left, and I am grateful that I got to work with such a special group of people.
I recently attended my work Christmas party at my current job, and I was filled with gratitude as I looked around at the copious amounts of food and awesome live music. My bride was dressed to the nines, and I had a suit with a fedora on. It was the nicest work party I had ever been to and it was all I ever dreamed of or wanted. God had brought me full circle in esteeming others and then blessing me with a party that was beyond what I had dreamed about. I stopped for a second before finishing my second helping of food and thanked God for His goodness to me. I have learned that instead of complaining about what you do not have, it is best to thank God for what you have, and to think of others who do not have all that you have. My mom has a sign in her house that says, “Remember the days you prayed for the things you now have”. There is happiness and joy in esteeming others better than yourself, and when you do for others, you tend not to focus on the things you don’t have. I will always be thankful for a Christmas party, and I will never forget what God has taught me because of it.
Where are you today? Are you only thinking of yourself and how things affect you, or are you focused on others? Who can you be a blessing to this Christmas season? Has God placed someone on your heart or have you been too busy complaining about what you don’t have? May God help us to remember others during this holiday season, and may we not forget the reason for the season. We celebrate the birth of our Savior who humbled Himself to give us the greatest gift of all. One day we will have the ultimate Christmas party with our Savior, but let us not forget Him until that day comes.