With three young children who LOVE to play outside, I find myself outside often keeping an eye and an ear on their whereabouts. There are about 6 regular children on our street who flock to our house to play, some days all at the same time! I love it, and I would not have it any other way. I like knowing where my kids are, who they are playing with, and what they are doing. Their closeness allows me to know all this, and I get to know the kids pretty well, too.
However, I realized that I was getting to know the kids better than I knew their parents. A few weeks before Christmas I read an article in a magazine from church about a family who hosted a drop-in at their home at Christmas time for the purpose of getting to know their neighbors. The Lord, right then and there, laid it on my heart to host a drop-in of our own. I talked to Brad about it, and he loved the idea.
One Sunday afternoon, two weeks before Christmas, I made up fliers with our drop-in information and the next Monday, Lindsay and I placed our invitations in ten of our neighbors’ newspaper boxes. The next Sunday, one week before Christmas, we opened our home from 4:00 – 6:00pm and waited. I really did not know what to expect. The house was clean (at least the downstairs, oh, and don’t ever look in the laundry room if you come over…that’s where Brad moves my clutter!) and the spread of food was set out. I served fudge, cookies, flavored crackers, blondies, chips and dip, meatballs, and apple cider. I learned, though, that it’s not really about the food, it’s about the fellowship, but we do seem to fellowship better over food!
As usual, the children arrived first! After a few minutes, Brad and I wondered if only the children were going to come! Then, slowly, 5 of our 10 invited families arrived, and we were thrilled! I enjoyed introducing my neighbors to each other as new ones arrived. I enjoyed chatting with them and getting to know them better. As it turned out, everyone congregated in my kitchen around the food!
Food was eaten, laughs were shared, and new friendships were made. At 6:00 when the last families left, we discussed going to a local hiking place together. One lady even volunteered to bring food to our drop-in next year! It was such a small investment of time and resources, but a big investment in friendships. I suppose I will host another drop-in next year and continue to invite those who live around me with the hope of building friendships where the love of Christ can be shared.
After the New Year, I was standing at the end of my driveway talking with a neighbor and another neighbor brought her daughter over to play, and the two women began a discussion on something we had all talked about at the drop-in. I am thankful for how Jesus can use our home or our driveway to bring people together!