Before you get too excited, no, this isn’t a blog post about Danny Tanner and his three adorable daughters and weird brothers. But last night almost felt like a mid-nineties sitcom in the Arp house. You see, a little over a week ago my wife found out about a single mom at our church who had just been hired for a second shift job. The only issue with a second shift job is trying to find childcare that is available from 3:30 to midnight (For the record, it doesn’t exist). But my wife, being the gracious person she is, volunteered a couple of nights a week at our house and so last night was the first night. And why would you have mom come collect her kids at 1 AM? So you guessed it, every bed (including a recent Craigslist pack-n-play purchase) in the Arp house was filled last night.* And the craziest part about all of this…? This isn’t the first time we’ve done something of this nature.
Over the years our house has been filled with a lot more than just our unique family. We’ve had college students, a friend who was living in her van and even one of our open gym kids from Flint stayed with us a few nights after I found out he’d been sleeping in the local high school baseball dugout. Maybe we’re naive, but we’ve never really had an issue opening up our doors to more or less strangers (although I must say I don’t think our pets are fans of it). Our motivation behind this is pretty simple, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,” – Matthew 25:35 Now, before this seems to much in the vein of boasting, I want you to realize it isn’t easy. Last night, at least for an hour or two, I was thinking we’d lost our minds yet again. But late last night my daughter helped me see how important these types of things are as she told me how much she loved having them over. And I even had the chance to tell her why we would do something like this.
In her book, Almost Christian, Kenda Creasy Dean, has this to say, “Parents who perform a radical act of faith and explain to their teens, “this is how Christians live,” will teach more about Christianity than many sermons and youth mission trips.” My wife and I realize (and even discussed at length) last night how sometimes the things we agree to are crazy. But at the end of the day we realize how important living our faith out is for our kids. And I don’t mean going to church, attending Sunday school, tithing, etc. These things are important for your children to see, but your children also need to know that this stuff they’re learning about every week has real life application that upsets the balance and makes you different than the rest of the world. In other words they need to know it isn’t all just lip service. So maybe this Christmas you do things a little differently. Maybe you become a little more radical in the sharing of your space and your things. And maybe we all invite the Christ child in once again in a new and radically different way.
* The mother in question is still in need of childcare Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights just in case anyone else feels crazy adventurous as well. Just email my wife or I and we can maybe help connect you.