May I have your ticket, please?

Continuing a tradition going on 17 consecutive years my family gathered together for our Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre in Woodbridge, Virginia. We get dinner, a show, and no dishes to clean from our Thanksgiving feast!

Just like last year I met my family at the theatre. They were already seated and were ready to eat. As I entered I planned to find their table, but was stopped by the hostess at the door asking for my ticket. This was the first time I’d ever been asked for a ticket! I assumed this was something new and that my family would have it for me already. I called my Dad to meet me with my ticket, but he didn’t have one for me. My mom walked by and told the lady at the box office that she’d already paid for me and that I was with them. Yet, the ticket taker and the box office woman insisted that every single individual had to have some piece of paper to let them in the front door. I complied by waiting in line to get a ticket of my own, but I found the whole experience to be rediculous.

I couldn’t shake this experience for quite some time. First, I was simply annoyed at what I thought to be a strange encounter. These weren’t regular pre-printed tickets for a seat. They were simply pieces of paper to keep a head count. Second, I was confident that I’d already been included in the count when my family checked in. Wouldn’t it make sense that they would have my ticket since they paid for my entrance?

Finally, I couldn’t believe that I that I was struck by a sudden sense of panic – are they not going to let me in? I can’t just get in because my family is in there already? Don’t they have my ticket?

I put all of this out of my mind and enjoyed the show, but on the drive home I couldn’t help but think about that feeling of panic that I might miss out and not see my family. Now, generally I avoid severe sentimentality, but I was honestly struck with this thought, “Is that what it will feel like for some people when they die and try to get into Heaven?” Telling God, “my Mom has my ticket, I promise!” Are there some people who assume that because their family goes to church that they don’t have to develop their own relationship with God?

This year I read a great book, “I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” by Vince Antonucci. He writes about people who don’t live their own authentic Christian faith, they just hang onto the faith of others. Sometimes it isn’t until crisis that people develop their own faith. Others lose what little faith they had because it wasn’t really their own…my hope and prayer this day is that all those who seek God will find a real experience in this life. When it comes to question of eternity no one can rely on a family member having a ticket for anyone but themselves.

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