In Christmas seasons past I’ve taken groups of singers to assisted living centers to wander the halls in Santa hats singing Christmas songs to the residents. This year I enlisted the power of social media in hopes of generating bigger groups. (Seriously. When I invited people via email there was an event to which two people came. We were The Three Lonely Carolers.)
Before creating the invitation to post, I googled “reasons to Christmas carol” and “reasons to sing at Christmas.” Nothing.
I was looking because, being self-employed and always behind the 8-ball, I was aware of the reasons not to go Christmas caroling at an assisted living center.
I have so much to do before fill-in-the-blank.
I don’t know those people.
Everyone wants something this time of year; I’m overwhelmed.
I really don’t have time.
Nobody will miss me if I’m not there. Other people can do it.
I have so many tasks to fit into my weekends.
I’m busy. Just really so busy.
It’s a long and compelling list which weighs heavily against the list of reasons to go caroling.
That being the case, I concluded that giving people reasons to join me would probably backfire; that I’d have to commit to the activity and step out on faith.
Two Sundays, two different care centers, two Facebook invitations (along with a few emails and phone calls) and notarized promissory notes from my husband and daughter in case The Three Lonely Carolers ended up staging a reunion tour.
I had invited singers, though; people who have had the experience of seeing their gift of song reflected in the eyes of the listener. They had seen singing give wings to words, letting the meanings soar past the mind, with all of its attendant resistance, and land squarely in the soul. They knew that a song is an experience shared by both the singer and the listener.
That was the reason they came. Over 30 people at each event. The experience was eloquently put into words by Susie Wexler, one of the newly founded Large Group of Joyous Carolers:
...caroling was an excuse to bring humanity, companionship and relevance to those who may have felt forgotten during the holiday season.
Sometimes we get so busy maintaining our own lives that we forget the big truths. In giving to others, we recalibrate our own existence to bring meaning and faith to our actions.