Last night a lady from church posted on The City (kind of like facebook for church people at Missio Church) that she was going Christmas caroling at a hospice house in town at 2 today and inviting people to come with her.
The kids and I went over and met up with her and a couple of men from the church to sing at the hospice house (I guess when the Maas family shows up we often more than double the crowd.) I really wanted to go because of 2 things:
1. Christmas caroling is such a big part of my Christmas memories from my childhood. Every Christmas that I can remember (with the exception of one or two years when we had the throw up bug really bad) from my childhood Christmas morning went as follows: get up, read the Christmas story from the Bible, open stockings, eat pop-open cinnamon rolls and drink egg nog, open presents, visit with Grandma and Grandpa Nelson as they made their rounds to all their kids' homes, then get ready to go to the nursing home at noon. I loved going to the nursing home. I never had any personal friends or relatives there as patients (well, except Irene one year I think and that year when I was an adult and Mom was there) but as a kid I rarely knew any of the patients there. It was always such a joy to see friends (non-patients) and to sing along as Pastor Ray strummed on his guitar and see the smiles on the faces of those older people, too many of whom had been forgotten. There was always 20-30 or so people, mostly from what is now Calvary Chapel Seneca Falls, and going and singing with them is probably my favorite childhood Christmas memory. I loved singing carols, walking around and holding or patting peoples' hands as they sat in the dining rooms. I also loved jamming to praise songs in the stair wells as we moved between the floors. ("His Name is Yahweh, the Lord is One... He's the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End, The Lord who reigns forever, Yahweh, Redeemer, Friend" comes to mind). Caleb is the only one who has ever gone caroling at noon at the nursing home (I think) and he was really little (though he says he has a memory of doing it) so I really wanted my kids to experience the joy of singing to people who can't leave where they are.
2. The girls have been singing almost non-stop from a Christmas carol book that we keep in our Christmas box and they have been talking about wanting to go Christmas caroling ever since we got the Christmas box out back at the end of November.
Here is what the kids had to say when we got home:
said: I was scared at first because I didn't know the people but after I
sang I liked them and thought they were nice. I was shy at first. Sister Collette was my favorite person there.
Hannah (9): I was a little afraid at first but tried to not show
it. After we sang the first two songs I got used to it a little bit. I
am glad I went.
Abigail (6): It was fun. At first I was a little scared but not too much.
Caleb (11): Before I went I thought it was going to be a really
cool experience. I was shy but once I got to know the people I felt
really sad for them. I'm glad I went.
It was neat to see the smiles and to be able to sing to the patients, pray with
them and listen to them tell their stories. I had the chance to give one
lady a back rub while we talked and I think that she really appreciated
it. It doesn't take much. Just a little time and caring.
I'd like to encourage others to go out and share the love of
Christ with others this Christmas season. If you want to go caroling I
have a pdf of a little Christmas songbook that you could print out and
take with you (I brought some of these with me. It was nice to have a
cheat sheet!!) just email me or leave a comment with your email address.