If there were only a way to perpetuate this blissful state of warm fuzziness. In a few days, I will repost my "trip to the North Pole" story...as I do every year. But, not tonight. Tonight is about our visit from God.
Remember that time-worn holiday story about the man that was told by God that He would visit him that night? It continues where the man was visited by a lost child, an elderly woman, and a weary traveler. You know the one...all night the man is waiting for God to show up....but instead, these people keep knocking at his door. He tends to each one (giving them shelter, food, kindness...etc). But, he is royally peeved when he finally goes to bed and God hasn't come. Then he talks to God and asks, "Why didn't you come?"...and God replies, "Oh, but I did come. Three times I knocked at your door, and three times you invited me in."...or something like that.
Well, tonight, God came to visit us.
Let me explain.
Jonathan and I have been hard at work decorating the house for the holidays. We started by putting up the outside lights last week...and just finished them tonight (partially because of the deep freeze we've been in). We hung white lights...icicle lights on the eaves and netted lights on the front hedge. Simple, clean, elegant. It's amazing what a few (thousand) little white lights can do to lift a house's spirits. Then, we decorated the tree...and just got it finished this evening. It turned out lovely (if I do say so myself).
Tonight, after dinner, we were adding the finishing touches to our outdoor house lights when a group of carolers wandered by. I don't know about y'all, but I LOVE Christmas caroling. It's a tradition you don't see very much these days unless you attend some themed event where they have professional carolers all decked out in Victorian garb. In my mind, those aren't REAL carolers...they're paid performers...and as such, a big chunk of the magic is missing. But tonight, we were graced by a group of REAL carolers...26 of them...all braving the frigid temperatures of this clear December night to bring our neighborhood some Christmas joy.
They were a young-adult group from a neighborhood church--the Antioch Community Church. Jonathan and I joined in and sang a couple of songs with them. Then, Jonathan not-so-jokingly said, "So, has anyone invited you in for hot cocoa yet?"
Several of them answered, "NO!...We wish! We're freezing!"
So...we invited them all in for some hot cocoa, spiced cider and cookies.
And, they accepted! Oy! What was I thinking??
We opened our doors and they all flooded into our tiny living room and library. Everyone was so friendly and happy! I went to work heating up pots of water (ok, so I gave them Swiss Miss instant cocoa, sue me). I opened up a couple of containers of Spekulatius cookies (yummy European spice cookies) and put out a plate of York Peppermint Patties--as Jonathan ran to the store to buy some extra cookies and Styrofoam cups (since I didn't have nearly enough mugs). While we were waiting for Jonathan to return, they serenaded me with "Carol of the Bells". That is such a hauntingly beautiful carol.
One of the carolers, Lauren, volunteered to help me prepare the cocoa and spiced cider. I gratefully accepted! Everyone filed through the kitchen, in parade-like fashion, to grab their drink of choice. For those statistician-type people out there...it was a ratio of about 5:1 cocoa to cider. After receiving their steaming cup, they circled through the dining room, down the hall and back to the living room to sit/stand and eat, drink, and be merry! Yeah...it was more than a little cramped in here, but nobody seemed to mind.
It was such a wonderful, impromptu fellowship!
They may have entered our house as strangers, but every one of them left as friends.
Before they left, they offered us a blessing for our health, happiness and love. It was so touchingly beautiful.
God came visiting us tonight.
He knocked (26 times), and we invited Him in.