I’ve had two little visitors at my house lately. For a couple of months these two little visitors have been making the short journey out their door and across my lawn to come see me. When I moved into my new house earlier this year I did so praying that God would give me open doors into my neighborhood. As usual I underestimated what God could do.
I moved right next door to a set of 9 year old twin girls. Somewhere in between the 195 days I was on the road this year I forged a friendship with them and won the trust of their parents. They know my garage code and where the key is hidden and they watch the house while I’m gone. They get my mail, bring me tiny little flowers they’ve picked off their mom’s hanging basket (sorry mom), pile sticks on my deck, swing in my hammock, and basically think they own the place. I love it. Rarely does a day go by when I am home that they don’t come knocking. And if I don’t answer, they just let themselves in.
As the weather has gotten colder we’re finding more and more to do inside my house. We bake, we clean, I’m teaching them to sew, we hang pictures, etc. A couple of weeks ago they helped me decorate for Christmas. They were putting my ornaments on my tree while we were singing Christmas songs. One of them was holding my Noah’s ark ornament when she looked at me and asked, “what on earth is this boat with all these animals?”
I chuckled, “that’s Noah’s ark.”
Flabbergasted I explained the story to them. The both stood still and listened intently as I talked about Noah. They had never heard the story before. Ever. When I told them it was true and part of history they were amazed.
A few minutes later I gave them a box of leftover decorations and said they could decorate the basement while I made lunch. When they were done they couldn’t wait to show me what they had done. They proudly showed me every little thing they had put out, including this. Gathered reverently around my “bah humbug” sign was Mary and Joseph. “We put these two guys here” the girls said nonchalantly as they led me around. I found baby Jesus alone in the guest room next to an ancient Winnie the Pooh Santa.
Two weeks later and Mary and Joseph are still gathered around the “bah humbug” sign. I’m leaving them there. Why? Because it reminds me not to assume. Because it challenges me to pray. Because it breaks my heart. Because I forget so easily.
Here in “evangelical” America we forget that not all have heard, not all know. Lest we forget my friends, we live in a dark world that is desperate for light. Lest we forget, God’s story is still the greatest story ever told. Lest we forget, being light looks a lot less like giving out a tract and a lot more like hanging ornaments on a tree and capturing the moments you’re given.
The story of my two little visitors is still unfolding. They can’t get enough of Bible stories, they’re asking questions about God, and they’re searching. In the midst of all of that we laugh as we try to learn to juggle, watch for the neighborhood baby squirrel, and work on their sewing project Christmas surprise for their mom.
In the midst of all of the busy, don’t forget that you have the greatest gift ever given and so many don’t even know there is a gift they are missing. They might even live right next door.