Last night was one of the most encouraging and delightful events in my church life. We’ve always done a free Christmas Banquet every year since we’ve been a church (9 years). The early years we delivered meals to the needy, and we also gathered for a party with a catered dish for those who attended the Vineyard. The past few years it became obvious that we couldn’t do it anymore on Sundays because we just didn’t have the room. We’re not a big church, we just ran out of room. Last year we had probably more than a hundred people leave because our little building was so small and everyone couldn’t get in to sit down to eat. So, we rented the Greek Orthodox building this year where we could seat 500. We had Carrabba’s cater it, actually cook on-site, and the best of all, it was free! I love giving stuff away. The surprise was we filled the room up! I knew we had lots of people coming that only show up every few weeks (the beach is like that), but I didn’t imagine that we would have to look for bigger digs for next year already. Next time, we’re going to hire a band to play so our musicians can take a break. Maybe after the food, and the Christmas music, we’ll have a little dance time.
I got to sing my favorite Christmas song kind of jazz style, lounge lizard stuff, you know – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and the whole building sang along as we ended the night. Man, it was fun!
Funny how seeing people laugh, giggle, smile, and talk can just brighten your whole life. People – God loves people. Every time something like this happens I’m reminded of why God has left us here – for people. Jesus is with the Father, but He sends the Spirit to live within people, His people, so they can reveal God’s love to other people. Church can become so distracting if we’re not careful. I watched as folks jumped in to help others, and the folks who stuck around to clean up were amazing … Tonda the sweep maestro. What a girl! Jeff making sure all is taken care of … Steve stacking chairs so high to roll ’em out I thought he’d kill himself … Shane, Clay, Mark, David, Rhonda, Belinda decorating, Rachel, Jeff Jr., Paul, the musicians hauling all that equipment in and out… so many wonderful folks working so hard to give others a good time.
Well, I’ve had my Christmas present, and I’ve seen what’s underneath the tree for our church – people. They are waiting there for us, the church. I think it’s going to be a good year. Merry Christmas to all!