Annual Neighborhood Xmas Party and listening like a child

On Sunday we had our 35th annual Christmas Outreach Party at my house. Well, actually it was our 2nd, but who’s keeping track? Click here to see more pictures. We included church kids, Amy’s school kids (last year’s kindergarteners and those she’s tutoring this year), as well as neighborhood kids.

At first, it didn’t look pretty. At all. At 2:30 pm (our start time), we had zero from outside the church. At 2:45 pm, one neighbor. Eventually folks started trickling in from 3-3:30 pm. By the end of the party, we had 3 different neighborhood families, 4 different church families, 3 different school families. But all of the school kids brought brothers, sisters, and both parents. So we had at least 20 kids (and a number of teenagers and adults) in my front yard, kitchen, and all around the house.

I was angry at God at 2:30 pm. I was praising God at 4:45 pm (when the last one’s left-it was supposed to end at 4pm!). He brought people in His timing, not mine-which is His right. It just happened to be in Latino time, which was appropriate for most, even though my neighbors who came were either black or white.

One of our youth got to share the gospel through candy. It was a hard road (peppermint hard candy) for Joseph and Mary. The Baby Ruth reminds us of Jesus, Smarties-the wise men, Starburst-the star….You get the point. Go here for the full story. It’s really quite simplistically brilliant.

The highlight for me was seeing one of my neighbor’s kids, who had already finished making his craft, card, and his ornament, sit down and listen attentively to the telling of the Candy filled Xmas story. When the next group of kids came out, and his group moved on, he simply came right back to listen again. His parents were looking for him because they had to go, but he wanted to hear the story again.

That was a powerful picture for me. We should be like Caden (the one in the Santa hat), never getting tired of hearing the amazing story of the gospel: how God entered into time and flesh to save a sinful people whom He loves. Each detail of the story, with or without candy, points us to the uniqueness of our Tri-une God. Amen.

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