When I was young, everyone on our street knew everyone. It wasn’t necessarily that everyone was each other’s buddy, but if there was ever a problem, people cared and showed it.
Today, in many neighborhoods across America things are different. With the invention of items like garage door openers, people pull in, push a button, drive into their garage and push another button and down comes the garage door never to be seen again until the next time they push that button and back out.
Yet Dw and I have felt strongly about how sad all that is. So with the many, many enormous changes in our lives (since reading *that* book which I wrote about here) we decided the time was now to intentionally get to know our neighbors! Over the summer I told Dw I wanted to have a Christmas party and invite the neighbors on our street. Then I got to thinking about how our home is not quite roomy with all the medical equipment. No exaggeration, daily we seem to trip over each other as it is.
The thing is that we could have said, “We don’t have time or room, our lives are busy, our home is crowded.” But friends, we want to love our neighbors, like He does, and we want them to know His astounding faithfulness and His relentless love. Living intentionally lays aside the excuses we all have.
So I kept praying.
Then one night I knew the Lord had whispered and, with that whisper, the plan was set in motion! One night after dinner the kids, Dw and I walked our street with invitations inviting neighbors to come caroling with our family followed by hot cider and treats in our driveway. (No cleaning of our house necessary – mighty big win/win in my humble opinion.) Of course, like others probably would, we thought, “What if no one comes?” I told Dw, “We will just go anyway – there’s already a little party with 11 of us!”
It was dark already but the kids and I walked to each door and rang the bell. We explained that we’re the ones with “the big white van” (because of how our house is positioned and how our van doesn’t fit in our garage we knew *everyone* knew exactly which house we were in) and then we handed them an invite to come caroling with us the following weekend.
Every single person who opened their door was kind and friendly. Some asked if we really have as many kids as the stickers on the van indicate!! Made me chuckle, they’ve been pretty curious! It was a great time just inviting them – we all came home so pumped up!! A few said they had other plans but would come if they could and of the three families who said that – all three were able to come anyway!!
So last Sunday night a total of 31 (representing 9 families) in our neighborhood walked the next street singing and talking and laughing together! Each home that opened their door Dw or I would explain that we were their neighbors from the next street and mention that we drive the big white van (everyone said they knew which house we meant – *giggle*!). We told them how we want the neighbors to know each other! One family said that they have lived here 27 years and never had carolers before!
Several of our neighbors who caroled with us brought treats to share (even though we didn’t say to). All stayed and talked and talked and talked. It was a blast! Seriously, the Lord was so good, honoring our prayers to begin to get to know our neighborhood. I’m also thrilled also to say that our city neighborhood has many different ethnicities and our kids fit right in!! How cool is that?
Over hot cider I talked of a block party with games for the kids or something similar when it warms up (cause right now it’s dang freezing out and we definitely needed the hot cider!). Since inviting our neighbors caroling we were invited to a neighbors for dinner. How wild is that? They didn’t know us but invited all 11 of us to dinner this past week. We had a wonderful time and are thrilled at this beautiful blessing from the Lord!
Another neighbor came down yesterday with containers of homemade cookies for our family. My heart smiles so big and so does my face. The Lord has been so astoundingly faithful and good to us! We have neighbors who are becoming our friends! Our thoughts are: We care because He cares and we love because He loves and we want the whole world to know Him, so we have to make room in our hearts and time in our schedules.