Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Exchange Party

Last night was our exchange party for Pendergraph Women's Ministry. Over 100 women were there, each bringing 4 items they had made, baked or bought. I was pretty busy coordinating the refreshments, and didn't have time to "peruse the merchandise", I couldn't begin to tell you what all people brought, but I know there was quite a variety.

Here is how the exchange works: since each lady brought 4 items, she got to take home 4 items. There were 4 rounds -- you chose one item per round. Simple, huh? But pretty fun! I chose all baked items -- as cute as the Christmas decorations were, I just knew I wouldn't have room for them here.

But we can eat up the pie, bread, biscotti and carmel apple I came home with. Here is a picture of how my mini libraries turned out:

The faculty wives, many of whom I've never met before, graciously brought the food we served. It was my delightful job to receive their dishes from them as they arrived, and I discovered how generous and kind they were. What a blessing for me, as the hospitality coordinator, to have so little to prepare.

I admit, I was a bit afraid that in an evening which emphasized gifts so much, it would be impossible to actually conclude with a focus on Christ. We had this party with Pendergraph because our faculty liason, Karen, has hosted it in her home for years, as an evangelistic outreach to her neighbors and community members. She always shares Scripture, and devotional and lots of Christmas songs to focus the evening on Christ. We sang "O Come, O Come Immanuel" in this beautiful arrangement that had 7 Antiphons, which were sort of short prayers that went with each verse. Members of the Pendergraph board, and I among them, read the Antiphons between each verse. That was the end of the night. My friend Rachel, who leads the music for Pendergraph, did a great job pointing us in Christ's direction. I understand how an event like this is a perfect way to welcome both believers and non-believers into your home during the Christmas season.


Sara Mincy said...

Gret, you are so cute holding up the garland! I love your emphasis on Christ and your concern that He should always be the center of all things.

Molly Carlisle said...

Gretchen, you are such an amazing woman. I read your posts in admiration, really I do. You're a true testimony of our amazing God. :)

James and Christen said...

What a great idea. It sounds like a wonderful way to reach out to your neighbors.

I am glad the evening went so well for you. I love this time of year when there are constantly opportunities to reflect on Christ. I have spent the last 3 weeks or so finishing up the study we started last year on Jesus. I can hardly put into words all that I have learned and how much more awe, love, respect I have for Christ and who He is.

Hope you are well. Wish we could celebrate a little with you guys.

Josh said...

Gretchen used some of our Christmas decorations for the party, including our nativity set with the baby Jesus marked up with pink highlighter. :)

Anonymous said...

What a great evening! Our ladies are having our annual cookie fellowship next week. Instead of everyone bringing cookies, we are going to make them together this year. Later, we give out cookies as we carol around the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

okay, yum-o. I would so pick out food items too because people make yummy stuff that I would never think of. :) Plus cutely packaged. ;) Gretchen, cute-o with the garland. Such a neat idea/night. I wish we had something like that. :)


Emily said...

Did you know Misty comes home in like two weeks!!! Shea comes home in 12 days..I'm counting tg\hem know what? This will be the fifteenth Christmas that I've known her. :)

Never fear Anna, you can come over and make cookies with us on Saturday! We are making a gingerbread house too, because Alyssa has a kit!
Oh I love christmastime!