I am not sure who had the first Christmas party. I am not talking about a party centered around the December 25th holiday. I more mean that party that every company or business I have ever worked for thought it was their obligation to have some sort of celebration. I remember receiving a frozen turkey, barbecue utensils, bonus checks, goodie bags, and the most depressing a meal at Golden Corral.
Usually our Christmas parties centered around a lot of eating, anticipation of what gifts we may receive from our company, and many people talking about what they would do for the holidays. I had been to a lot of Christmas parties at homes, our business, and rented spaces.One of my favorite was in a dive bar in North Kansas City, MO.
Our company had fell on some hard times, and they announced no party would be happening that year. I think this was the year our boss paid out of his pocket to take us to Golden Corral earlier in the day. After work, we all decided that a buffet was not enough, so we all decided we would head over to a local bar to celebrate. I was nervous, as I had not been in a bar for a long time.
I decided to go with my friends from work, though at the time I was not drinking any alcohol at all. My work associates became more friends that day as I noticed that the bar was a lot like the church I attended, save the alcohol. Most people were happy to see each other and they were enjoying each other’s company without much pretense, especially for a relatively dirty place with one pool table and a smoky atmosphere. Everyone was light hearted, even though we knew it might be the last celebration we had together as a team. Many others were moving on to find jobs with a brighter future. It meant a lot to my co-workers that I came, but it changed something in me.
I realized that I had to let go of a lot of my preconceived notions of people and places. I used to vilify bars, but I realized that bars are viewed evil because of the alcohol they serve, not because of the friendships formed. I have learned over the years that churches struggle for the same reason, we often head to gather with our church. We face our failures and sins, but we walk out and do the same things again and again. We drink of God and His ways, we then go out in a world with little of it impacting us. We find solace on Sunday mornings, but often leave it at the doorstep of the entrance.
I guess I never would have thought that a cheap dinner would spur on such a fun time after work with my co-workers. I never imagined that Christ could change me like he has, but he has, in the fellowship of others, some with drinks in their hands and some with communion.