I would’ve missed my chance for Christmas caroling this year if not for the hard working musicians at my church who hosted a community carol singing downtown in Centennial Plaza last Sunday night. I thought it was wonderful. The attendance was short of what we’d hoped, but it takes a few iterations to train people how to celebrate, so I hope we keep doing this in the years to come. It is too important let slip away. It was fun to stand in the cold and sing (well, I was actually sitting and playing my trombone with the ensemble, but I think that counts) and sip hot chocolate, next to the giant Christmas tree and lighted decorations. But here is the real reason I loved it. We were singing outside.
Christmas caroling is one of the few moments in our world when adults, especially men, sing aloud outside. Besides the National Anthem at ball games or college fight songs, we seldom sing. That’s not a good way to live.
I was fortunate to grow up with a dad who sang. He was a worship leader in our church and I saw him sing every Sunday, so in my world singing was something grown men did all the time. That’s a big reason why music is still part of my life.
Cyndi and I used to host a Christmas caroling adventure every December for our adult Bible study group. We would hook a flatbed trailer to my pickup and string lights, then fill it with parents and kids and blankets and go caroling around town. We only had time to make three or four stops, but the singing went on even as we drove from place to place. It was usually cold, at least for Texas, but we learned the colder it was the better the kids behaved snuggled under their blankets.
We haven’t gone caroling for the past three years and I am sad about that. I am disappointed in myself for not making it happen. We get so busy and distracted in December, just thinking about doing one more thing can be exhausting. But we should do it anyway. It’s worth the trouble. It is an old tradition that will fade away and be gone in a generation if we don’t keep doing it.
Back when our son and daughter were in high school we used to go caroling with three trombones. People were quite surprised when they opened their doors and found a trombone trio. Even that was a repeat of something we did in high school, when a group of us band kids would go out caroling.
I miss those times. I need another caroling ensemble to play with. I get plenty of opportunities to sing and play carols in church or at home, but caroling has to be outside.
Here’s the thing. If you are reading this and live in Midland and you’d love to go Christmas Caroling (either singing or playing), you have my permission to bug me about it next fall. I don’t want to miss another season.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32