We gathered in my house with big pots of soup and we dished our bowls and sat in clusters—around the blue table or in the living room—and shared dinner and bits of our lives. And the kids played with Nerf guns and ate too many cookies.
It was the end of the week and the beginning of the next and our lives take us to so many places in between Sunday and Saturday that there’s a comfort in knowing there’s a place we belong and it’s “together”.
So this Saturday was about our small group and soups and an idea called Sole Hope. It was about shoes for children half a world away that live with the crippling effects of parasites embedding in the soles of their feet. It was about stacks of denim jeans outgrown and scissors snipping shapes. It was about sitting beside each other and beside our kids and the materials for thirty pair of toddler shoes.
It was about setting aside time to listen one another and realize what it is a gift that we have one another to share this complicated, frustrating, blessed thing called life, all the while we’re cutting denim shoe shapes and slurping soup and sipping coffee. And we know that even in small ways we can be part of something bigger.
And while we aren’t “changing the world” we are changing a life. And while we are changing a life, we’re sharing ours.
And this Christmas thing makes more and more sense.
Because the secret of enjoying Christmas isn’t necessarily in simplifying more or decorating like a Pinterest maven, in finding the right gift or cancelling gift giving altogether. It isn’t in the traditions or the cookies or the carols, and yet, all the while it is about all that.
Because the giver of Christmas is the giver of life and the one who values life more than anyone: Jesus.
He began this sharing business, this giving business, this way of living a human life in the power of God and shoulder-to-shoulder. On this, our Soup and Sole Hope Saturday, we put our hands to a small task that would make a great difference and counted ourselves blessed to be a part of it.
And tonight, when we consider Christmas, we’ll pray for those little ones who will one day wear the “size 9 toddler” Sole Hope Shoes and the meaning of Christmas will sparkle a bit brighter, half a world away, in the smiles of Ugandan children. And if I could, I’d hold those feet and say a blessing over them.
“And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news.” (Romans 10: 14-15)
This year might we find more ways to give. Giving isn’t just gifts, but time and compassion and friendship. Jesus taught us how to give of ourselves. Jesus taught us to bring good news.