I just love Christmastime. I really, really do. I woke up from a nap a few days ago and said to myself, "I need to bake!" Within a few hours I had procured all necessary ingredients to make quite a bit of holiday cheer. Being home with a sick kiddo gives you lots of hours to bake in the kitchen, and so I whipped up a batch each of chex mix, muddy buddies, fudge, and pretzel/kiss/m&m goodies yesterday.
A couple just bought the house across the street and the kids and I thought it the perfect opportunity to start out our Advent season by spreading Christmas cheer with some delicious, home-baked goods and a little welcome letter.
It was a delicious-looking and -tasting package, if I do say so myself!
And, as these things go, there are not always happy endings. We tromped over through the piles and piles of leaves, knee-high in places (what the heck, winter winds?!) We knocked and politely rang the doorbell just once. (Yes, we're working on proper doorbell technique here in the Joyce household.)
The new neighbor comes from his garage around the corner, and yells in a very impatient and unkind voice, "WHAT?!" before turning and heading back into the garage. I was seriously dumbfounded. If it were just me, I would have high-tailed it home and eaten the goodies myself. But Maddie insisted we press on. "We HAVE to deliver the goodies, Mama!"
We followed him around the corner, into his garage, and thereby entered into one of the most awkward and uncomfortable situations I've been in. Not warm, not engaging, not even really interested in us or our Christmas cheer (though they did eventually accept our box o' goodies). We quickly invited them to our neighborhood Christmas party and then did our leaf dance home.
What to tell the children? It was clear that there is A LOT of brokenness in that home, just from a (horribly awkward) three-minute conversation. I can't imagine the kind of brokenness that so completely cuts you off from others that it is nearly impossible to extend kindness, gratitude, or even a smile when greeted with such a friendly and exuberant crowd! It became very clear that our ADVENTure was a turning into an opportunity to start praying for our new neighbors. May they grow in knowledge of the peace and joy and gratitude that Christ alone offers! May we extend hospitality, love and generosity even when unwelcomed. May God himself turn their hearts toward him, starting this Advent season.