Simple Things, Great Joy

This has been a rough two weeks for our family with the unexpected passing of my grandmother. She was 85, full of beauty, elegance and faith. It has been hard to climb our way back out of this sadness that losing Gram has caused. But I think that climb became a tad easier this morning. So I wanted to share a story about our special morning – and the night before – that brought a bit of joy into my sadness.

Last night we had a women’s Christmas event at Blackhawk Church called Cookies with a Cause. I was lucky to be a part of the committee who helped to organize it. We planned a simple evening where women could hang out, meet other women, eat (of course!), be inspired and then do an act of kindness.

The women all arrived to find one end of our atrium lit by hundreds of candles and white Christmas lights and tulle. Susan was playing the piano and Cammie was singing Christmas songs (her voice is absolutely beautiful). There were small tables that seat four all set up with candles and ribbon and mirrored plates – and with the dimmed lights, it felt simple, intimate and welcoming.

The women all mingled, chatted, had coffee, hot cocoa and cookies. We had a short welcome and intro to the night. Then Carol Fricke read a children’s story about a little girl who saw a homeless man on her street everyday and asked her mom why “that man always had a sad look in his eyes.” She invited to him her Christmas program, even though her mom thought she shouldn’t talk to him. She showed kindness and brought great joy to him.

Afterwards, Cammie sang that absolutely beautiful song by Chris Rice, Welcome to Our World. Then Cathy Musto talked a bit about how sometimes we see people like the man in the story everyday with a sad look in their eyes. There are people we see each day that could use something small – and nothing fancy, like a stable and old manger – to bring them great joy.

She explained what we were going to do with all these cookies. We had made it sound like a regular cookie exchange, having all the women bring two dozen cookies. They thought that they would be taking cookies home to themselves. But – this is where our take on the Advent Conspiracy came in – we added a twist to the exchange! We asked them to think of someone who could use some kindness and needed a bit of joy in their lives. This could be someone they knew well or not. It could be a good friend or the lady at the grocery store checkout. Anyone. Then they could make a pretty plate of cookies up, wrap it with cellophane, tie it up with a gorgeous ribbon. We provided a card for them to write anything they wanted and attach it to the ribbon. This could be done anonymously or not….their choice.

The women loved the idea! It was a hit. We even had enough cookies that several of them made two and three plates as they kept thinking of other people they could do this for.

So, who did I give my plate to? We have an elderly crossing guard that is in the next neighborhood over. In the three years that we have lived here I have never seen this man smile. Never. I drive by him each day and am sad when I see him. All the kids are scared of him as he scowls and yells all the time.

So this morning, as I drove the kids to school, we drove right up to his corner. Our 7-year-old, Luke, jumped out of the car, ran over to him, and said “Merry Christmas!” and handed him the cookie plate! He SMILED and said, “Why, thank you young man!”

A great morning here – such a small thing can bring GREAT JOY … to the crossing guard, to me, and to Luke and our three other children.

So, go and do something small and kind for someone who is not expecting it. It will make their day – and yours.

Written by Sarah Stevens

1 Response to “Simple Things, Great Joy”

  1. 1 Nancy December 3, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    This is SO inspiring Sarah!
    Thanks so much for sharing it!

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Act Local: Share gifts of time and resources with those in our community. At the Impact Tree in the Atrium, find opportunities available for individuals, families and life groups. All the information you need will be on the cards by the Tree. Take a card – put an ornament on the tree.

Give Global: On Sunday, December 13 during services, we'll take up an Advent Conspiracy offering (a direct result of spending less) to give towards clean water projects and wheelchair needs in Honduras, Kenya and Romania. If you won’t be able to join us at services on that day but still want to participate, just write "Advent" in the memo of your check and drop it in any of the offering boxes.


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