I’m no caroling historian, but I think Christmas caroling was more common in yesteryear. Fortunately the tradition was already alive and well at Redeemer. So it only took one phone call for me to ask someone to set it up and everything was a go.
We went caroling last Wed night with well over 30 people, comprising everyone from children to youth to those who might qualify for a senior discount. In previous years, the church has caroled in neighborhoods going from house to house. “Blind caroling” can be a fun endeavor, but folks can quickly get discouraged when people come to the door and say, “You should just go to the next house.” That happened the previous year.
Since the youth had already caroled to and mingled with a local nursing home, I felt it necessary to carol to those who would certainly appreciate it: some of the young at heart in our own congregation.
So, with highs in the 20’s (if that), and a rare day of no snowfall, we hit up 5 houses and brought joy to a number of folks who really appreciated it. I think caroling accomplished a number of things, but here are several reasons why I think its worth the effort.
1.) While its a lost art, this is a way to love those who are young at heart but who may qualify for special age-based discounts. Other people may not feel loved by caroling, as evidenced by them not coming to the door or telling you to leave, but certainly some folks appreciate it. It’s a great way to show that you love them in a way that is well received. I think its necessary to care for those outside the church family in nursing homes, as well as those within the church family. Neither group should be ignored.
2.) It brings the carolers joy. There wasn’t anyone I talked to-other than Connar, who melted down by the last house saying, “No sing! No sing!”, and he’s only 2 and was freezing and tired-who didn’t have a blast. Getting the church together to sing songs about Jesus is good for the soul. Joy begets joy, and others’ joy increases my joy. Your joy helps others and others help you. And we all needed this in 20 degree weather. And we still need it for the 20 degree weather of life.
3.) Good cross section of church. We had children, jr high and sr high youth, adults, single, parents, seniors all together. We needed to have the youth do a caroling trip of their own for logistical purposes, but having them together with the rest of the body is always a good thing. This is a time where kids who like to sing can be around others of all ages who like to sing and minister together.
I think next year I’d like to add some mingling to the caroling because it was very hard to turn down hot chocolate several times over. That would have been another great way to show love. But all in all, a great time. I hope that you get the opportunity to partake in caroling next year wherever you are. It may not be your bag, and small children may preclude you from going (probably not the best idea to bring a 2 yr old), but it is something worth considering.