December 22, 2011
Things we see in a city on a daily basis become invisible to us for most people. Our focus is on other things and our brain becomes a selective filtering device tailored to our own interests and causes.
Our church is large. It sits right on a very busy city street on a large, uncrowded lot. A huge sanctuary with a large swooping A frame roof and two large two story buildings behind and beside it. Yet people who travel that street daily do not know it's there. It doesn't interest them....it is not their "cause".
We are always trying to think of ideas to let our neighborhood know we care about them as a church. The desire at the core of our church is to reach our neighborhood with Christ's love. So last night my husband (our pastor) organized a Christmas caroling outreach for our neighbors. He chose the streets right across the busy street from our church. The people who live on that street must look directly at our building as they drive west every day, out to the main road.
We went to each house on three streets, rang the doorbell and left a professional looking flier and candy cane on their porch while the group sang from the street. So as they took the prepared flier, wishing them a Merry Christmas and inviting them to our Christmas services, I wondered if they recognized the name of the church or had ever looked our direction.
Only a handful of people peeked out from darkened windows, not wanting to be seen or talked to. At most of the houses, the people came out onto the porch, smiling, enjoying the songs and the "spirit of Christmas". Young couples, older retired people, single adults and families with little children gathered at their open doors to smile and thank us as we sang. One woman couldn't get over the fact that we were caroling. She hadn't seen carolers in years and years and she was thrilled! She spent several minutes with a few of our people after we'd moved on to the next house asking about our group and church and thanking them.
I think it was so well received that we'll probably make it a yearly event. Mission accomplished with a very old fashioned holiday tradition.....we made personal contact with our neighbors in a loving, fun way and did something to show them we care.
And we do. And we're praying they will find out God cares deeply about them too.