I've moved around quite a bit - We lived in 4 different states when I was in school so I was the new kid several times. This experience gave me a good sense of how much community means at a pretty early age. I knew that it took a while to develop, that you have to be patient and willing to put yourself out there. I was familiar with the feeling of walking into a room, unknown. I even had a "first day" outfit in high school - I wore it on Day 1 at both my second and third high schools.
As an adult, it sometimes seems even harder. As a school-aged child, you have access to classmates. You know you'll see them every day and that can be intimidating but it can also be comforting. You trust that eventually you'll be seen and known.
Adults who work out of the home may have something similar, but not exactly. And those who work from home or stay home with kids will have to step out to find community. Unless you live in a "Truman Show" neighborhood where people show up, welcoming you to the street with time to spend and a plate of cookies, true community probably won't come knocking at your door.
The truth is, it doesn't really matter HOW hard it is to build community. It always takes work.
My brother was here for Thanksgiving and he preached at our church plant a few days later. One of the things he mentioned was that as our world becomes more digital, and less "in person," we, as Christians, have the privilege of being ones who REALLY get what it means show up.
This is because we know that the physical matters - if it didn't, Jesus wouldn't have become flesh, he would have become Facetime. Or Skype. Or even just a well-communicated thought that magically appeared in our heads. He could have come in a different way, but by becoming flesh, he showed us that "in person" is important. Communion, not the bread and wine kind (although that too) but the sharing life with others, is important.
As we wait this Advent season, and celebrate Jesus's coming, his becoming flesh, let's be the people who show up. We may not do that better than those who believe different things, but we need to recognize the importance anyway. If your neighborhood isn't one where people deliver cookies during Christmas, try starting it. Remember caroling? Why not go? Pay attention to those around you who are lonely and hurting this holiday season, and show up for them. Invite them in.
Show up for Kristi at her blog And Babies Don't Keep. (See what I did there?)