As I've said before, running is not a time, for me, when I do a lot of thinking. Mostly, I seem to be focused on whether or not I'll actually make it back home before dying.
Today, though, was a little different. It was a gorgeous morning. I slept in a bit and headed out at about 8:10 -- it was a crisp 35° and the sun was shining. Enough of a breeze to keep me cool (yes, even at 35° I needed to keep cool) I took a route (5.2 miles) that I hadn't run in a long time and it goes around a small lake.
Yesterday, while we had a prayer time with the new missionaries to our region who are in orientation, one of them prayed for us that we would find ways to do missions/minister to our neighbours. America is such a private place that we've found it hard to even get opportunities for spiritual conversations with the people whose houses we can see from our front porch.
I had been mulling over an idea for a few days and was thinking about it while running. As a way to simply open the door for these kinds of conversations, we are considering inviting the closest neighbours to the house for refreshments and a "modern" presentation of the traditional Christmas story, the birth of Christ. We would use candles to represent the characters. We would light each candle as that character comes "on stage" (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, Jesus, wise men) and sing a Christmas carol at each point. Then, as each character leaves the stage (wise men return home, shepherds go back to their sheep, Mary and Joseph die), their candle would be snuffed out until only Jesus, the light of the world, remains lit. It's simple yet very powerful and almost completely non-threatening to nominal or non-believers.
As I ran, I thought and prayed about that and just became convinced that it was worth trying to arrange. Linda and I talked about it when I got back and she agreed. So, we're going to try to make it happen with about 12 of our neighbours. Let's see if we can pull it off (putting it here, might be just the "pressure" we need).