A few months ago I read a blog that inspired me to action. My friend, Cory Verner, mentioned that he was helping coordinate an Alternative Christmas Event. The idea was to encourage people to think about global poverty issues by hosting an event where they could purchase fair trade and other Christmas gifts that help the poor in one way or another. Something inside of me lit up and I got a warm sensation in my heart that is often an indication that the Holy Spirit is speaking to me (it's usually that or that I am really embarrassed or nervous about something).
So I contacted Cory for some advice and then asked our vestry if we could host a similar event for Church of the Savior. The vestry was very supportive. Since there is a local Ten Thousand Villages near our church, we called and asked if they would open their store for a couple of hours on a Saturday evening as a special event for our church. They were more than happy to accommodate us.
So this Saturday a little over 30 people from our church slogged through rain and ice to gather at Ten Thousand Villages and do some Christmas shopping. We had apple cider, cookies and other treats. Ten Thousand Villages provided fair trade coffee and chocolate samples. We all milled about selecting gifts for family and friends, chatting with each other and munching goodies. The kids enjoyed playing with the drums, rain sticks and other instruments that were available for sale. And we purchased gifts that will both honor the family and friends who receive them and provide dignity and a living wage to the artisans who crafted them.
I am so glad that everything worked out so well. A number of people mentioned how much they enjoyed the event and some of the children asked their parents if they could visit the store again another time. A friend from work read my Facebook status mentioning the event and wondered aloud if this is something his own church should do next year. All of these things (the idea, the ease of working out the details and the positive responses) make me pretty certain that this was a work of God. I'm just glad he let me participate.