Last night a small group of friends, old & new, gathered in a rock house in Fayetteville to get a head start on the celebration of this coming Christmas season.
However, this night was different from most because rather than a traditional holiday gathering that was spent eating, drinking and laughing, it was an evening to drop $10 and a small slip of paper in the “Old Man’s Hat” that was by the door as you entered.  This small slip of paper recorded each person’s favorite charitable organization, and towards the end of the evening one organization was to be drawn to receive the money in the hat.  From the moment the evening started and before you could even come in and take your coat off, you knew that the evening wasn’t just about us.

This idea developed a few months ago out of a continuing conversation about how a community of people could gather and focus on returning Christmas to maybe what it was intended to be all along.

The belief is that Christmas is really a time for anticipation, hope, joy, peace, family, community and the realization that the reason that all of these things exist is because a small baby entered the world to continue a story of rescue and redemption.  This is a story that has been told from the beginning of time itself and today finds its’ way to us here and now.

This conversation ebbed and flowed and eventually took the form of Christmas Change.  Christmas Change is a collective of people interacting, creating, dreaming and expressing what it means to “return to the foundational story of rescue and redemption…as we use our resources to spread good news to those in desperate need.”

Last night this expression found it’s form in an old dusty hat piled high with tiny white slips of papers and little more than pocket change to most.  As the slips were drawn from the hat, to our surprise the last one held the name of the Cobblestone Project.  It is a truly humbling honor to be entrusted to use this money to serve those in our community when they find themselves in a time of need.  We anticipate the moment when hope will fill the eyes of those who may be without because of an old hat at the door way.

But the best part?

It an evening that a small community of people came together with the desire to celebrate the season in a way that changes our focus away from ourselves and returns it to what matters most.

So the next time you gather, consider placing an Old Man’s Hat by the front door while you celebrate a season of change that points towards a life of return.