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.