Those at the church where I serve know I’m not a big fan of Christmas carols. As our church’s music pastor (one of the hats I get to wear) I usually hear each year: “Why aren’t we singing more Christmas carols?!” My answer is that I’m not a big fan of them. Why? Most Christmas carols are difficult for the congregation to sing (since they are designed for choral singing, not congregational singing) and often their theological content leaves something to be desired.
However, this evening I had a wonderful time singing Christmas carols! My personal Barnabas, Dave, organized an evening of sharing Christ as we went caroling in a neighborhood near our church building. This is the fourth year we have done this and God blessed us this year with a great group and decent weather for the evening (it was a little windy and cold, but God stopped the rain for most of the time we were out caroling through the neigborhood).
A couple of thoughts on the evening:
1) Kudos to Dave for organizing caroling with a purpose. He was very intentional about the reason for caroling, and it wasn’t to fill the cold evening air with Christmas songs. Dave wanted these people, living a little more than a mile from the church, to know about our church and about the Gospel we embrace and proclaim. He made sure each house received a pamphlet explaining our ministry and their need for the Gospel. As we sang at each home, a few members of the group would ring the doorbell and share the information with those who answered their door.
2) Some people hid from us. It was obvious that some of the folks who didn’t answer their door were actually home. Some watched from upstairs windows. Others came out after we left. But it was obvious that at a few homes we were ignored. As I rode back to the church in the fantastic old pick-up truck of my new acquaintance, Gary, he shared about ministry trips he had taken to Nicaragua and Mexico. “They were so receptive” he said. “When you came to their door, they didn’t ignore you, they would come right out and talk with you and really listen to what you had to say.” I imagine there are a number of different reasons why someone might not come to their door, but one has to wonder how that moment might look to them from the perspective of eternity.
3) As we approached one of the last houses and began to sing “Joy to the World,” I took great delight in being able to sing loudly and in public about the greatness of my Savior. At times, Christianity can become too much of a “personal” thing and tonight was a wonderful chance to joyously proclaim publicly my affection for Jesus. There is something invigorating about telling the world (or a neighborhood in the world) how marvelous Jesus is. It was even better to be surrounded by a band of brothers and sisters who were joyously proclaiming the same thing!
Thanks, Dave, for planning this great evening. And the next time somebody comes up to me and asks why we didn’t sing more Christmas carols this year, I’ll tell them we did sing some more carols and you should have been there!