peppermint cookiesBaking Christmas cookies is probably my favorite thing to do this time of year. I love the way it makes my house feel warm and cozy with scents of peppermint and ginger lingering in the air. I love to spend the time with my girls in the kitchen singing Christmas songs and sneaking a taste from the bowl. The kitchen is my happy place. Typically I will share a plate of cookies with my family and friends, but this year God whispered in my ear to do a little more.

My family has lived on the same cul-de-sac with the same neighbors for over 12 years. It’s a sweet little street with the sounds of children playing and access to a nature walk. I love it here. It’s home. But as many times as I have seen my neighbors come and go for 12 years, I’ve only developed a relationship with 2 families.

This is a problem.

Love thy neighbor doesn’t mean just the ones who also have kids that play with your own. Love thy neighbor isn’t just the convenience of carpools and keeping an eye out when they go on vacation.

So, I doubled the batch of our favorite Christmas cookies, plated them up on 7 different plates and told my family that we were going to deliver them on Christmas Eve to each one of our neighbors.

“But we don’t know them!”

My point exactly.

Love thy Hindu neighbor with a drinking problem.

Love thy hoarding neighbor afraid to leave his house.

Love thy handicapped neighbor who can’t make it to the front door.

Love thy neighbor who yells at your kids for playing on their lawn.

So we did. It was a bit out of our comfort zone. My husband rang one doorbell and said, “I don’t even know this guys name! I feel bad!” And that is exactly why we were there! To learn about our neighbors.

We heard from proud parents talking about their grown children graduating college. And that the man up the street has been sick for 2 weeks. We learned that the boy 3 houses up takes pride in his cheesecake recipe and is thankful to have completed his first semester of college.

What I found most interesting was that most people felt compelled to give something back.  We got a dish of delicious Indian cookies and someone else gave us a box of chocolate turtles.  That wasn’t why we were there at all, but I got to thinking about it. Community is about give and take. Community is giving what you have to the greater good of those around you. If we all contributed in the ways we know how, how much better would this world be? What if we all lived with no expectations of receiving, but lived with just the obligation to give the love you have and spread it around?

It was a batch of Christmas cookies. I make them every year. But this year I think they will taste the best they have ever tasted because we changed up the ingredients just a little bit and added some fellowship.




Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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