Opportunities to Reach Your Neighbors for Christ
December 1, 2001 - "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
—Luke 2:10, KJV
by Garry Goodin
Children performed all the roles in the Christmas drama at our church—the joyful angels, the awestruck shepherds, the apologetic innkeeper, and the reverent wise men bringing gifts. Some of the children heard about the birth of Jesus Christ for the first time as they practiced their lines for the play. These children were from our neighborhood, and we had invited them to be part of our Christmas drama.
Four years earlier, when we moved into our home, we decided to take the first step in meeting our neighbors. We walked up and down the street and introduced ourselves to our neighbors and invited them to a block party at our house. That party led to wedding showers, Easter gatherings, joint garage sales, backyard cookouts, back-to-school parties and a Thanksgiving dinner. We tried to use every holiday, special occasion or significant life event as a reason to bring our neighbors together and get to know them better.
At Christmastime our children made cookies and fudge, and learned about giving when they delivered the sweets to each family on our block and extended invitations to a Christmas party. During the party, as we gave thanks to God for the food, we asked for God's blessing on each family in the coming year. After the party we went door-to-door singing Christmas carols. Our children are learning to see Christmas and other holidays as opportunities to reach out to other people in friendship.
Because we took time to build trustworthy relationships with our neighbors, we find it easier to talk with them about spiritual things. We are familiar with them and their needs, and God is giving us a heart for people and showing us how to demonstrate in practical ways His love for them.
Recently my wife, Terry, was at the bus stop with our son, David, when a middle-school boy from the neighborhood walked up to her and said, "I wanted you to know that I accepted Jesus Christ yesterday."
He is one of the children who had been part of our Christmas play at church.