A few weeks ago, the neighbors starting asking about Christmas. Over one conversation with the bread ladies, they said, “Do it really big this year! Next year, we probably won’t be here and you probably won’t either, so we need to make it so big!”
It still breaks my heart to think of it, but it’s true: both of these are possibilities for all of us. We have no idea what the coming months will hold, and even today one of our favorite families said they’d be heading out tomorrow morning. We aren’t sure what to make of it, but if this is our last chance to celebrate Christmas in this community, we do want it to be epic.
So we’ve started early!
We’ve already done Advents in Sunday school, with eighteen kids filling twenty-five envelopes each with two small gifts (candy, pencils, rulers, erasers).
They are to wait to open them until the right day–just as they waited for Jesus in the Old Testament and we are waiting for him now–and keep one for themselves and give one to a friend.
We also started Storytime in the community last week, where our friend Liz will come each week to read a story, sing songs, and do a craft. (Our own little library storytime! 😍) She does it twice, for the toddlers with their moms, and then again for the older kids.
She read a book about a snowman that they loved (rolling laughter, the second time through when they understood it more!) and we made cottonball snowmen. Adorable.
We also decorated a community tree with colored ornaments and hand-sewn felt Christmas trees.
The littler kids also replicated this with a tree outside: the stuck a branch into the ground and hung flowers and limes all around the tree on bits of string they found! It was pretty endearing.
And we played Bingo this week, which was popular as always.
We’ve already started gathering presents and storing them at a friends house, and we have community events planned all through the month.
We’re hoping we can make this the best yet–and hoping most of the community stays around at least until January!