Our first ever Community Christmas Tree Lighting was a blast. The weather was wonderful. The turnout was terrific. And the sense of it was something of a street fair.
Several aspects of the event made it memorable for me. To start, so many people involved themselves in the event. Seeing so many people working on making their corner of the event work; seeing so many people do their part so that the whole came together gave me a feeling of joy.
The animals were worth every rental penny we paid. The children were mesmerized by the animals. As soon as the trailer arrived, children literally jumped on the trailer and couldn't wait to see the animals. I think the adults liked them too, just not as many of them posed for cute pictures. Even the llama who was loosed at the end (thanks Facebook pictures) added a great story for those of us who were there to tell those who couldn't be there.
But, by far my favorite part occurred just before we lit the tree. I was blabbing on a bit providing anticipation and ceremony to the actual lighting when something unscripted came out of my mouth. I said a word of appreciation for our neighbors who were in attendance because they were the ones for whom we were doing all of this. As soon as I said it, the church members present broke into applause. That heartfelt and spontaneous gesture of hospitality by our congregation was my early Christmas present. Thank you.