I’m still pretty high right now. Not drugs, not hugs, just kind of an emotional and spiritual high. Yesterday, we had our neighborhood outreach cookie/craft decoration thing. We invited neighborhood kids (we had 2 families come), Amy’s kindergarteners (close to 10, and some of their siblings), a number of our church kids, and those invited by our church folk. It was amazing (25-30 kids).
There were so many little things that God worked out to make it run as smoothly as possible. Amy and I borrowed the pastor’s big blue van and picked up 6 kids at 5 houses. Fortunately Amy called the parents on Sunday, and reminded them that we were coming. Miracle of miracles, they actually called back. Some were surprised, some couldn’t come, others would be coming but THEY wanted to drive them here.
That was great news. Finding these houses was not easy, and took a long time because they were all spread out. It was great news to hear that we would only need to go to 5 houses, not 8! Had we gone to 8 we would not have made it back in time to get some last minute things ready.
But we found all of them-mapquest was actually accurate. We took on some enemy fire when driving through one of the neighborhoods (rocks or something else hard). But those kids were gone when we returned to drop them off.
We used the symbolism of the candy cane to share about Jesus, and offered a possible name change if they only would turn it upside down: Jesus cane. We also tried to teach them “Silent Night.” The other two stations involved making donut snowmen and reindeer cookies, and decorating a bag to house their creations and our Xmas Eve invitation.
Everything ran so smoothly, particularly when you think of 25-30 kids, 15 or so adults, 10 youth, other parents of kids. I bet we had at least 50-60 people in my yard, cul de sac, or house! On Sunday I thought this would have been a good idea if we hadn’t invited Amy’s kids. It would have been more manageable. And it might have. But God ‘managed’ everything, working behind the scenes.
One report from a member came today which spoke of a young girl understanding the importance and symbolism of Jesus and the candy cane. Another neighbor told me how grateful she was that we do things like this and neighborhood cookouts. I spoke with several neighbors and warned them of the activities which would be going on. Fortunately they were cool. Forget Robert Frost’s saying, “good fences make good neighbors.” Communication, community, love, regular prayer, and of course God’s grace and providential involvement make good neighborhoods.