I think it is a pastor's dream to see cars waiting in line to enter the church parking lot. They may not have come for church, but they did hear about Jesus! On Saturday we had over 1,300 people come to our campus to pick out the perfect Christmas Tree. That tree came with a card that would remind them of the reason we celebrate Christmas, an invite to our Sunday Services, and a flier telling them how they can learn more about us as a church and our programs. That card was handed to them by one of our hospitable helpers who would take them on a quick trip around the grass area where they would pick out the perfect tree. Along the way they would exchange names, be invited to church, and be told about JESUS! After helping to load the tree they would exit, and we would approach the next person in line to start the same journey. What a joy it was to watch kids smiling, families laughing, tears of joy over the simple gift of a tree.
In preparation for Saturday’s giveaway, I posted on our Grace Church Facebook Page and on many other local sites about the details of where someone can get a free tree. This was a simple reminder that Jesus is the reason we have to celebrate and that Grace Church loves them. That post received more than 600 post shares, over 1000 likes and hundreds of comments. The radio station in Lakeport would stop by the church on Thursday seeking permission to announce our tree giveaway on Friday taking that same message to potentially thousands of listeners throughout the day. The first tree seeker would show up on our campus at 7:30am on Saturday and there would be over 100 people on our campus by 9am even though our giveaway did not begin until 11am. I ran to the store to buy cookies, donuts and hot beverages for those waiting. By the time 11am would come around all of the church parking and overflow parking was full and people were parking on the street to get a tree. At 1:21pm we had given out the last of our over 300 Christmas trees to our community.
What a joy it was to see families lined up and to be able to share with them and love them. We expected nothing in return. We simply wanted to offer them a gift and to love them well. Our love for others is how they will know that we serve a great God and I believe we represented our King of Kings and Lord of Lords well this past weekend. A huge thanks to all of those who helped to make this happen. For those who give faithfully of your finances to secure the purchase and delivery of our trees and goodies, to those who gave of their time to be hospitable or to help setup our tree lot, to those who used their special constructions skills to make the tree stands, those who filled out and stuffed the cards we would hand out and thanks to a GREAT GOD who brought people to our campus so that we can show them love.
I want to encourage you to love your neighbor well this Christmas Season. Scatter seed as if you have it in abundance, because you do. People are watching and what they see of us will influence what they think of our Savior.