Last Christmas (2006) was our first Christmas in our house. Unfortunately, Margaret had ankle surgery the Monday before Thanksgiving, so we did not decorate much for Christmas. This year, Margaret is very excited about finally being able to decorate the house for Christmas.
Saturday, we walked out into the front yard to think through some various decorating ideas: lights, garland, bows, wreaths, etc. After we decided on a course of action and had prioritized our various ideas (we can’t afford everything at once), I noticed that our neighbors across the road were decorating their house. I walked across the road and struck up a conversation.
I have talked with them a couple of times before. Our son and their son were in the same football league this fall, although they were in different age brackets. Also, the wife coached cheerleading, and our daughter is interested in cheerleading next year. So, we started our conversation talking about decorations, and football, and cheerleading.
From there the conversation moved to hometowns, and families, and more children’s sports, and Christmas, and other topics. We talked about carolling for Christmas, and I invited them to join us this week as some friends come over to sing Christmas carols in our neighborhood. (We also found out that someone in our neighborhood is sponsoring a neighborhood-wide carolling this weekend, and our family is planning to take part in that as well.)
Anyway, the conversation did not go much further this time. But, I was very excited about this conversation. First, we have talked to these neighbors a couples of times before, but never for an extended time. This time, I was able to talk to them longer than all of the other times combined. Second, we have been asking God to allow us to get to know our neighbors. Here was a chance that he gave us to get to know them in a way that was fun and interesting to all of us. Third, we were able to make some connections with these neighbors – not in major areas, but in little things. But, we will be able to build on these connections the next time we meet with them.
Meanwhile, in a few days, some of our friends are coming over to help us sing Christmas carols for these neighbors and others. Margaret, the kids, and I have been busy preparing candy and other goodies to give to our neighbors as Christmas gifts when we go carolling. We’re praying that this will be fun, that they will enjoy the singing and the goodies, and that we will have more opportunities to get to know them and to shine the light of Christ into their lives.