Today a new member of our church challenged us to give something of ourselves for Christmas. His proposal is that those who feel led to help put on a dinner for those at the church or in town who have no where else to go for Christmas.
Usually we give the fixings for a Christmas dinner for those who ask. We always do the same at Thanksgiving. This is something different though, this is a real commitment because not only do some of us need to cook, he suggested that there be greeters at the door, volunteers to transport people who might need a ride, someone to hand out name tags, and that we sit and visit with people we don't know. It also means giving up Christmas day at home.
As I sat in the pew thinking about it, I realized that our family, those who actually come to the house for the gift-giving, do so on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we have the big dinner at one o'clock, the same time as this church dinner is being proposed. So--I could cook a turkey, make a big container of dressing and another of yams and take it to the church.
Since my son's family live next door and always come for Christmas dinner, I wasn't sure how they would react to this--but they were sitting on the same pew and heard the same proposal. After church we went out to eat together and I said, "I think I'm going to cook a turkey and some of the trimmings for the Christmas dinner."
My daughter-in-law said, "I think I'd like to be a part of that too. We can all go over to the church and have our dinner there. My granddaughter said, "I could do the name tags."
This is quite an undertaking as our church is really small. This morning I bet we only had about 30 people there--some were still off somewhere for the Thanksgiving holiday. Our little town is interesting--there are lots of rich retirees and there are a lot of down and outers, many of them live in what used to be a tuberculosis hospital that's been turned into low income housing for the elderly and handicapped. I suspect that's where a lot of people will come from.
You know what though, I bet this will turn out to be something we'll all love being a part of--and if it doesn't work out like we're hoping, well, we'll have tried.
And that's how the Christmas season is beginning in my neck of the woods--or should I say in the foothills of the Sierra.