Yesterday Merriem and I accompanied Jacob, our oldest, to his company Christmas party.

That’s right: we’re old enough to have a child with his own workplace party. After it was over with, we shopped for nursing homes.

But I digress. Jacob works for Chick Fil A, which if you’ve read this blog you know is one of my favorite companies out there. And after hitting a behind-the-scenes gathering for employees and their families, I walked away being an even bigger fan of their passion and the reality that – while the financial bottom line is important – they sure do seem like a company that’s more interested in the people walking through the doors.

But I digress again. Roughly halfway through the party, I looked out the window to the parking lot to see a man in his 60’s walking towards the door. Keep in mind it was a Sunday. We were sitting in Chick Fil A, the company that is infamous for being closed on Sunday. And there was a sign on the door that said “Closed for a party.” Oh: and there were wall-to-wall people inside and two buffet lines set up (please please please Chick Fil A add a buffet line to the menu) and a Dirty Santa gift exchange going on and an owner/operator emceeing into a microphone and just general pandemonium all the way around.

But I could see it on this guy’s face: he wasn’t paying attention to any of that. He walked across the parking lot, through the open door, to the restrooms, and then back out of the building and to his car.

(No word on whether he washed his hands.)

And all the while, a party that wasn’t for him was going on all around him. He’d slipped into Chick Fil A bizarro world and never knew what hit him. He came in and went out and went on with his day, none the wiser of his surroundings.

On the drive home I couldn’t help but draw the parallel between my Sunday afternoon entertainment and what seems to be the “new normal” this time of year. We’re surrounded by celebrations: lights and music and smells and tastes and presents and family, and yet we fail to recognize the true party that’s right in front of us. As Sally Lloyd-Jones says in her children’s book Song of the Stars, “the one who made us has come to live with us.”

Presents. No presence.

Gifts. But not the Gift.

Lights. But not the Light.

Managing chaos. But no manger amidst the chaos.

We have just over a week to go until Christmas. As for me, I plan to carve out some quiet moments to reflect, to worship, to celebrate the real party that is unfolding around me. How can you do that as well?

The one who made us has come to live with us.

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