The holiday season is now in full swing. Many of us already have our plans for Christmas and New Year’s gatherings on the calendar. We have the dates for the office parties and tickets to our favorite Christmas pageants or performances. At this busy time of year, we often find ourselves with multiple requests from friends and family asking us to drop by. It really is a season of invitations. Some recent exchanges with friends and new acquaintances have me wondering if we realize just how important an invitation really is. Or do we take those invitations sitting on our desk or in our email — as well as the invitations we extend — for granted?
Recently, when I was co-hosting a women’s pilgrimage in Italy, I encouraged one of our pilgrims not to stay back at the hotel and to instead consider joining the group for dinner. This lovely sister, by her own admission, was at first reluctant to spend a lot of time with the rest of the group after the scheduled tours. She by nature is an introvert and gets somewhat drained, as she explained, by being around large groups of people without downtime to reflect. But I noticed along the way that she had much to contribute. Despite her introverted personality, she shared her knowledge of the Faith freely with the other women. She was joyful and made others feel the same. So when she told me, at one point, that she felt she needed to retreat to her room, I challenged her a bit: “You know, I really like you and like having you around. I really hope you join us for dinner. I think it would be good for you and for us.”
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