Our local community arena miraculously had an opening on December 6th, and it was the perfect size. A sea of tables was set up where later six hundred women would gather for what our theme was: "One Night, One Church, One Jesus."
I'm sure some of these churches had never done a women's Christmas party, so even though we were the main ones who organized this year's, I hope in years to come I hope it's more of a collaborative effort. We did have a few churches decorating tables (the ones in the foreground of the picture above were done by a Missionary Baptist Church in our town...don't you LOVE the chairs?), so that took some of the burden off our ladies. Of course, you KNOW I decorated one. Or two. But NOT three. I didn't want to kill myself this year.
I wish I had been able to get a better picture of my tables with the candles lit, but I'm thankful for the ones I did get. I should say the ones that Kiddo got. He was my table photographer. He and Sound Man were also there for another reason:Waiters! We were politically correct and called the guys "servers," and that's exactly what they were. As the ladies were eating a delicious meal of chicken, asparagus, and scalloped potatoes, the men were scurrying around with tea and water glasses, among other dinner-related requests. Kiddo hung pretty closely to Sound Man for the first part of the evening, but as he got accustomed to what he was supposed to do, he got more independent. By the end of the night, he was carrying a huge tray full of desserts around like he had been at it his whole life. I was one proud Momma as I watched him from the stage.
I mention I was on stage because I was privileged to help lead this community of women in worship. As worship leaders, I always say we have the best seat in the house! Watching and hearing six hundred women lift their voices in worship...simply amazing.
My favorite part of any Christmas-themed night is the candle lighting. Each lady was given a candle and holder, and as the women raised their flickering candles the room was bathed in the sweet, soft glow of candlelight. The sight always makes me cry.
Even though each candle was held aloft by one individual woman, together they all created enough light to brighten the room. It reminded me that even though we belong to individual churches, together we could bring the Light to our community if we work together. No matter our skin color, denomination, or church membership, we are all daughters of the King. We need to get over ourselves and our insecurities and our fears and band together to reach others for Him. Our women's ministry has organized a prayer night for the entire community of ladies to come and pray for our area. Someone also created a Facebook page for all of us to share what God is doing within our churches. It makes us feel more like a true community to know that God is working not just in our church, but in the others across our area.
If the world would see us all band together for one purpose, maybe they'd take Christianity more seriously...and take the message of Christ to heart.
What can you do in your community to bring churches together? Are you willing to work with someone of a different skin color? Of a different denomination?
Don't think I've got all this down...I don't. I'm never the first to volunteer outside my comfort zone. But the more we do, the more comfortable we'll become with the idea.
This year would be a good year for us to open our hearts and minds to see how God can use us.