As I listened to Evidence Not Seen (by Darlene Deibler Rose) my eyes often filled with tears. Hearing what newly-wed missionaries Russell and Darlene endured to share Christ in New Guinea shredded my heart. They were driven by a fervent love for the Lord Jesus, wanting to be used as light to those in darkness. A few years after arrival on the island, Russell and Darlene were placed in separate POW camps when WW2 began. He died in his, and she somehow lived through it.
What efforts are we willing to expend to share Christ’s love with those around us? It is by God’s sovereign will that each of us lives where we do. We don’t have to travel thousands of miles to our mission field; we already live there.
Would you be willing to discuss with your wife what you might do in the coming days and make a plan to carry it out? Here are some ideas to consider:
- If your family can sing, carol to your neighbors. We have done that for many years now. We only sing the first verse of an easy carol and then “We wish you a merry Christmas.” We encourage you to keep it short. (Trust me.)
- If you want to carol and lack voices, invite others to join you. Either a family or two from church or Christian neighbors. We seek to include the “cute factor” — little kids who stand at the front of the caroling group.
- If caroling is out of your ability, what about just a casual, short, outside visit to wish them a Merry Christmas?
- Bring a gift of food whether you carol or not. Food isn’t expensive, and people love tasty treats. Some possibilities are: sweet bread, cookies, or homemade candy. We make poppyseed loaves (Poppyseed Loaf). They are delicious, and our neighbors tell us they look forward to them each year.
- With the food gift, what about giving them a card with it?
- In the card, include a personal note if you know them, and it not, a more general one where you express your desire in getting to know them. If they have had health challenges, and you have been praying for them, tell them. Offer to pray for other needs they might have. Include your name and phone number so they know you are serious.
Something done for the first time can be intimidating. However, our lives are full of activities that felt awkward the first time but in time became special. That is the way Christmas caroling to our neighbors began thirty years ago. It is now a rewarding annual family tradition that grew from the ten of us before our children began to marry, to about 30 (on a good year) of us with daughters-in-law and grandchildren. It is a delightful opportunity to show our neighbors we love them and share some encouragement in Christ.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).