The term Christian doesn't flood the mind with images of someone who would be first on a A-lister's party-of-the-year guest list.
For the most part, Christians tend to have a reputation for being stick in the muds, what with the list of "thou shalt not's" carved into rock first by Moses in the Old Testament and then onto our hearts by Christ in the New Testament's Sermon on the Mount.
No gossiping. No drunkenness. No gossiping. No adultery even in our daydreams. No murderous thoughts about that guy who just cut us off in traffic. Scripture might as well have said, "no fun....at least by the world's standards"
Definitely not the like the life of a party. Boring. Safe. Unadventurous.
But appearances are often deceiving, and this is one of those times.
I would love to transport you into my family's Christmas gatherings, a group of Christians having the kind of fun all in attendance will remember, laugh about for years to come.
After the fudge, cheese balls, shrimp dip, and dirty rice--our fun? It's found in an unusual place--a rollicking good game of Bible Trivia. My family rattles the windows with joy. Literally, as in we talk about how much fireproofing is in the walls between us and the next town house because our laughter is so loud and frequent.
It's been six years since we played last. Not since my Grandfather's passing months before my sister in law Liza's "I do" to my brother, not since my three children, and not since cousin's new boyfriend added to the head-count have we unfolded the rainbow board.
My face tightens and cracks as I write this and remember watching the boyfriend's surprise at how much fun a bunch of older Christians playing a boring old game about the oldest book on earth could actually be.Somehow, the game has always pitted the men against the women. An outsider would think that couldn't possibly be fair, what with the men having three seminary degrees amongst them and the women nothing but a personal dedication to ladies' Bible study.
Still, until this past Tuesday, the overall score over the years was women: 4 , men: 3. The women lost by one point, so now we're tied again. Love of the Word, luck of the draw, and a good memory are all that's required.
Taunting the opponent with good-natured ribbing is pretty much a given, as are a few running jokes (such as answering "Belshazzar" to every not-a-clue name of an obscure Bible character) or poking fun at the game's impossible questions by crafting our own like "What is the name of Methuselah's turtle?" (No, don't look; he didn't have one)Although he's too young now, my five-year-old, Wyatt, seems like a Trivia guru in the making. Just tonight, I doubled over with stifled giggles as I listened to him replay with the Little People a few of this afternoon's passages from the already-much-loved The Story for Children.
I laughed as I heard him recount "Wyatt's version" of the Bible stories where Abraham and Moses are contemporaries of King Herod. Husband and I knocked heads in laughter when we hear him rename King Herod (the one who killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem) "Herod the Cutter." Yep--I can see that being useful in a future round of Bible Trivia.
Side splitting wake-the-children laughter. Heart joy. The Word at the center of our gathering.
Now that's the best kind of fun Christmas party around. You don't know what you're missing unless you've been there, too.
Photos: All 21 of my family together for pre-Christmas fun (minus boyfriend taking the photo)
My cousin, Kimberly (who needs a Christian husband with something more than "the personality of paste.")