On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers. ~Adlai E. Stevenson
Yesterday afternoon we loaded up all of the cookies Taya had made and went visiting the neighbors-most of whom we hadn't met yet. What a fun way to meet people! There really is something about the holidays (and gifts of food) that seems to open up opportunities to visit that just weren't there before. We were surprised at how diverse our neighborhood is-many different nationalities, races, ages, religions, professions, etc. At one home, a lady from Argentina invited us inside to meet her husband from Venezuala, "Grandma" from China, and their daughter. They said that their three year old daughter is tri-lingual. Needless to say, we had to work pretty hard just to keep up with that conversation...but they were so excited that we stopped by and they wanted us to come back and visit later.
Almost everyone that we met invited us into their homes and then wanted to make sure that we would come back again, or get the kids together to play. It was interesting that although we hadn't met them, many of them knew quite a bit about us... they had been watching how Isaiah likes to play with his trucks on the window sill, how we take care of the yard, how we go on walks together, etc. It was a really good reminder for us to really watch what our lives and our actions say about us.
One of the highlights was meeting a Grandma across the street named "Alice". We had a nice visit with her, and then as we were heading on to the next neighbor she mentioned that she hadn't met them yet either-so we invited her to come with us. When that neighbor invited us inside, his mom and sister were there too. The first thing she said was "I think I know you from somewhere", and after talking for a while they realized that they had grown up in the same town nearby and their families had been friends. The mom remembered what a good cook the grandma was, and the grandma remembered what a good gospel singer the mom was. It was fun to be a part of that little reunion.
In the end it took about 6 hours to make the rounds of 17 homes, but it was so much fun. We built bridges with people that we may never have otherwise had the opportunity of meeting, and we were given invitations to come back and visit with most of them. When we got back home we both agreed that "now it's starting to feel like Christmas." And we felt like God had prepared the way for us to begin building relationships. After all, relationships is what Christmas is all about. As Eugene Peterson puts it in the Message- "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." ~John 1:14