Last weekend our church had a really neat outreach to our community. As the event was planned, we had no idea how many people would come. Preparing for the event took a lot of work by a lot of people and was covered with prayer.
As people arrived at the church they were greeted outside and welcomed to a bonfire. Then they entered the church. The foyer was a Candy Cane Room where the story about candy canes was told. You can see the full story here. Apparently this is just a made-up story and not the way the candy cane was created, it was a good way to present the gospel in a short amount of time. Also in this room people could have Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.
The next place people could go was in the sanctuary. There was an on-going concert in there and people could come and go as they liked. Of course, it was the little kids that stole the show. All the music was good and I think people found it relaxing to just sit for awhile and listen to Christmas music.
From the sanctuary people could move into the Victorian living room. There Saint Nicholas told the story of the original Saint Nicholas who lived in Turkey and who was a kind and generous man. He also tied in the reason why we celebrate Christmas....to remember the greatest gift ever given.
From there people moved on to the little town of Bethlehem. The picture doesn't do the setting justice. The walls were covered with cardboard on which were painted the walls of a city. There were sellers, a beggar, and even an inn keeper who came out and told us there was no room in the inn. The lady in green told the story of that holy night and then ushered us in to the stable. There we saw more of the story acted out with a live nativity, including a calf who wanted to nuzzle Joseph!
It was a great evening and was perfect for people who wouldn't want to sit in a church service at a church they aren't familiar with.