It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. I woke up pretty early on Saturday morning, and ELVES (full-sized elves!) were already outside my kitchen window and they had twinkly lights and wreaths and a giant Santa snow-globe, already in full motion beside my driveway. How do elves know these things?!…I mean that I had extra little people frequently visiting this fall…with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads and a mammy that’s got cobwebs dancing in hers. Those elves knew that I had more visiting kids and chaos and less serenity and sanity than ever in my lifetime! And so there they were…James and Darren and Mandie and Hunter and the North Pole remote team, too…Molly and Jennifer and Brad and Jessica. (And maybe there were more. I mean who can accurately assess something so magical as the North Pole’s outreach mission?!)
To say that’s the sweetest thing in my holiday season (maybe, my life) is accurate. There they were out there with their coffee and cocoa (shaken, not stirred) hunting ladders and even hunting a key. (They thought we were not home….Now, what if they had walked in and there we were…in all our pajama glory!?)
And so I was having a party last night. I ran to Walmart after morning worship to curbside pick-up for stuff I really needed for that party. That order was delayed indefinitely. So I cancelled the order and went inside to shop in a chaotic flurry of wall to wall people. Glenn was with me and he cannot find squat in there…. “They don’t have this.” Then I’d go find whatever it was on the very aisle in which he’d been searching. (I should be a little more charitable. I just realized the Papa shopper could be reading. I love you soooo much, but you ain’t a shoppa’ papa.) We checked out and Papa pulled the SUV to the front and center of the Walmart entrance and I opened that hatch to glass-bottled cream sodas falling from the vehicle…crashing, rolling, splashing out onto that parking lot. It was loud and drew lots of attention. A worker came by and said a naughty word and continued on his way. We began picking up sticky glass and making trash can treks. I had cream soda suede boots and Glenn had little shards of glass in his fingers.
Obviously, the afternoon did NOT hold enough hours to clean up all the messes I needed to remedy. I left that worship service last night as fast as I could when the last “amen” was said and raced home to cook my nuggets, pour my eggnog, pack more ice on the cokes and make the cider. I rushed in the kitchen door and started (I mean a big time jump!) to find PEOPLE in there just humming right along…there was my sister, Celine, taking the nuggets out of the oven. The aroma of the cider was already filling the house. The cokes were covered. Scotty, her husband, said “We can’t find the eggnog”….Where’s the trash bin?”…”Which door should I use to refill this cooler?”…”Where’s the extra ice?” And all of this, after he’d preached all day and filled all kinds of needs for many other people through the day.
Words fail. Matthew 25 people I’m writing about will respond “When?…”When did we see you thirsty and give you a drink?…When did we see you hungry and feed you? …”When?” It’s a million different days and ways and gifts and words and prayers and covert twinkly lights and snow globes and nuggets and cups of cider. It’s the indisputable fact that God’s people are the best people in the world! We had visitors at the party who are just getting to know a taste of what the Huntsville family of God is like. Those visitors don’t know it yet, but they are in for the most important decision of their lives as they start looking at faithful, involved commitment to this family and kingdom. I am so, so, so thankful for God’s people in my life right now and I pray for the chance to get to “pay forward” some of this weekend’s goodness.
It’s fun to think about elves, but it’s real and powerful to think about the greatest of these…the love of the people of God in times of discouragement.
God is so amazing through His people!