Loving Neighbors at Christmas

I love this!  Pulled this off Facebook the other day and thought I would pass it on with some comment and an idea or two or . . . (we’ll see).  It is the latest attempt to try to do something that is kind of a “pay-it-forward” and hope it goes viral. So, first, the thing I stole from Facebook is called the “Christmas Doorstep Challenge”: (below in deep blue)

Christmas at the Door (cropped)

The Christmas doorstep challenge is on! Imagine how many Christmases could be brightened by a simple gesture.
The rules:
  1. Pick someone who has had a tough time or would simply benefit from some festive goodwill. It doesn’t have to be someone you know well.
  2. Choose them a gift – big or small.
  3. Write them an anonymous note, some kind words about why you were thinking of them.
  4. Leave it all at their doorstep.
  5. Knock on the door and leg it – make sure they don’t see you!
  6. Feel happy knowing that you have spread some Christmas cheer with no expectations of anything in return.
This year I picked a single mum who lost her dad at Christmas last year and is putting on a brave face this year for her two young kids. 
“Let’s share and see if this catches on and we can spread a bit of Christmas magic. Miracles really do happen!

I call all of this “preparing the soil to recieve the seed of the gospel.”

Improving Soil

Fill the bed with a rich, light soil mix. A general all-purpose recipe includes 1 part perlite and 2 parts each of topsoil, peat moss, and compost. Mix it well and remember to fertilize plants — either with a water-soluble fertilizer twice a month or a slow-release granular fertilizer once or twice a season. Or buy a prepackaged mix that contains a slow-release fertilizer.”

(Source: picture and quote from a DIY blog on Lowe’s website)

In many ways, what the Christmas Challenge has the potential to do is prepare “the soil of the neighborhood” to hear the gospel. Think of your response to this challenge as one of the ingredients you are putting in your “wheelbarrow”. There are other ingredients you will need to add, other “good deeds” that will make the “soil” or your community rich and ready to recieve the seed of the gospel. And as you add those “nutrients” God will work to produce a harvest for his Kingdom and the joy of our neighbors.

So what are some of the other ingredients that you need to add to “your neighborhood?”

Try some of these:

  • Regular prayer for your neighbors, that they would experience their hearts turning to God and see his hand in the creation.
  • Regular prayer for your own boldness and willingness to be “discomforted” for the joy of your neighbor and the glory of your Lord.
  • Join your neighbor for a walk.
  • Invite your neighbor to your home. “What’s your favorite pie?”
  • Help your neighbor with his Fall leaf-raking.
  • Listen to your neighbor talk. It is amazing what can happen if we are just available to listen. Pray not only for them but WITH them when they share a heartache, a worry, a sorrow, a concern. “Can I pray for you right now for that?” And then take 30 seconds and pray.

These are the simply gestures and acts that prepare the neighborhood for the loving proclamation of the gospel. We don’t know where the “good soil” souls are (using the biblical metaphor). But we do know that our God wants us to adore the gospel well as we seek to proclaim the greatness of our King and Kingdom. Let’s be faithful to the task.

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