Friday, December 21, 2012

A Life Like Christmas Carols

The twenty first of December might be a regular day to most. To me it was a day I looked forward to all year long. It is my dad's birthday you see, so we had wonderful traditions to carry out. By that time we were usually on Christmas break from school so in the morning we'd do chores and have some time playing in the snow. Then we'd go inside and the baking would begin. My mom was in charge because she was known for her delicious cinnamon bread. One kid would wrap the bread in Christmas plastic wrap and I always tried to claim the noble job of wrapping ribbon around each loaf. My oldest sister taught me to run a scissor along the ribbon so that it was a curly fountain of Christmas cheer. We then cleaned the entire house, every nook and cranny. This was a pretty large task considering there were six young kids running around to make it dirty.
When the baking was done and the sun was set we'd get ready. My mom would bundle us up in all of our winter clothes and get us prepared for a night full of caroling. We'd start with the first house  near ours. It'd go like this, in the car we'd argue about which song we should sing first. My mom always said we should let my dad pick because it was his birthday but we usually ended up settling on whichever song the older girls thought would be best. We'd ding the neighbor's door bell and, as they approached, sing the chosen song. We always closed with "We wish you a Merry Christmas." As this song was being sung, one of us would carry a loaf of cinnamon bread to the family at the door and we would invite them to join us in caroling. After the caroling was through we usually had a large group built up and we would all go back to our house to drink hot cocoa, cider and eat Christmas treats.  Over the years the neighbors even got in on our tradition and would be waiting with goodies of their own when we arrived.
That tradition still lasts even though it has been altered throughout the years as kids left home and my parents changed residence. Nevertheless, in our family the memories of our December twenty firsts still hold a very special place in each of our hearts. It's only been over the past couple of years that I've realized that there are a lot of similarities between my dad's life and Christmas Caroling. I know that sounds like a silly concept but just hear me out. What does Christmas caroling do?
1. It connects people. Traditional carols bring everyone together because, even though they may be different, each of us has memories sparked by songs like "Silent Night."
2. It witnesses to people. The carols tell the story of the real reason for Christmas, Jesus birth. By caroling people see Christ's love in us.
3. It fills people with anticipation. I told you earlier that people began to expect us on the twenty first and make goodies for the evening. We should feel that same anticipation for the next time Jesus comes so that we are prepared and so that there "is room for Him in the inn."
My dad has always been a person I look up to as one of the greatest Christians examples I know. You can bet he makes mistakes but if there is a person who, like Christmas caroling, connects to people, witnesses to people and fills them with the anticipation of Christ's return, it's my dad. So folks, that's why we Christmas caroled on all of those December twenty firsts and that's my story about a man who shared the same values as Christmas carols.


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