The tradition started long ago with our neighbors when our kids were small.
Every fall, no matter the weather or busy schedules, our neighbors would gather in our cul-de-sac for a simple social around Halloween time. At first, it was just lawn chairs and snacks for an hour. Then it continued to grow. And grow.
Eventually, the fall fun night mushroomed into a chance to welcome new neighbors, celebrate the original neighbors, and reconnect over fun snacks and way too many sweet treats. When people started asking if I was planning the Fall Social in July, I began to realize how much the gathering meant to them.
This year, as I was prepping and cleaning and running around furiously the hours before, the doubts started to come. Thoughts like, "Why do I do this? This is so much work! Does this really matter? Does anyone really like this?"
The answer is yes and yes. That sweet autumn night, I came to understand the importance of bringing people together. I welcomed new neighbors, hugged necks of old friends, held brand new babies, and met children of neighbors that are now adults in our neighborhood. The evening was a beautiful gathering of young, old, new, and originals, with piles of children in between. I was inspired and in awe of seeing the generations come together under a canopy of stars on a beautiful crisp night.
Two words, "come over" can change everything.
Only recently have I begun to recognize how much the two words "come over" meant to my friends and neighbors. I'm not a Bible scholar, but I do know two pretty important verses in the Bible -Mark 12:30-31. In a nutshell, they say to love the Lord and love your neighbor with all you got.
Several neighbors told me later that the best part of getting together is to hear each other's stories. The chance to go deeper than the passing on the street conversation. Spending time in fellowship together was a chance to allow Mark 12 to come alive in backyard form with neighbor love.
Maybe you don't have an annual fall tradition, or maybe you want to start something new. Maybe you are worried that your house isn't nice enough or clean enough or you're too busy or nobody will come. Me too. But don't we all love to be invited? A thousand times yes. My encouragement is to dare to be that neighbor that says, "come over." It may be just cheese and crackers, but truly, it's pure heart treasure.
Be bold by opening up to the blessings of fellowship
and friendship in ways only God can inspire.
Who needs to hear the words, "come over" in your life?