I will never forget my memories from high school of the service-oriented things I did as a part of the clubs I joined. I always enjoyed them the most because they filled my heart up like nothing else could. During Christmas season one year, as a part of the Kitty Hawk Air Society, we went out to a nursing home and sang Christmas carols and visited with the people there. We also spruced up their garden areas so that they had a beautiful place to go during the day. It touched my heart and now, fourteen years later, that memory remains firmly rooted in my heart and mind as one of the best things I’ve ever done. For me, Christmas is less about receiving gifts and more about the joy we bring into the lives of the people around us. I want the same kinds of memories for my children, so when my church group said they were going caroling on Sunday, I jumped on the opportunity, and I’m so glad we did.
At first, my husband kind of grumbled about going. He’s worked six days a week, and he added an extra day this week, so he had actually worked seven days in a row this week. In his mind, his crazy wife now is now asking him to get off work and do more work, but we hadn’t done anything Christmas-related at all yet as a family and the kids need this chance. I knew we’d have fun. I looked at him and told him he might actually have some fun. I knew the kids would. Plus, pizza and dessert awaited him at the church before we left for caroling. At home, he had nothing to eat. I mean…how can you pass that up? So, he came begrudgingly. I understood why. But, once he got into it, he participated (even after telling everyone he would not sing). He totally got down with the kids and did his dad thing. He was fantastic.
The kids loved it! They took turns handing the cookies off and saying “Merry Christmas” at each house we went to. If we hadn’t instituted the taking turns on the cookies rule, some fighting might have occurred, because my children really got into the whole idea of making other people happy. We tried to get pictures of them, but the lighting cursed us. Their smiles lit up the night, but not enough. Oh, and hearing my kids try to sing the songs? Adorable! I think that by the end of the night, most of the words to “Silent Night” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” might have gotten memorized. They such a great job!
Most of all, seeing the joy we brought to each person we visited made it all worth it. We started at about 6:00 p.m. and we got home at about 8:30 p.m. with Squeaker passed out in the back seat and Big Guy still wide awake from all the activity. We actually left our house at 4:45 to arrive at the church to eat at about 5:20, but I don’t really count that time. None of that’s relevant. We spent that time singing, bringing people freshly baked cookies and ornaments, and, most importantly, showing them that people care enough about them to visit their homes. In the end, I think they cherished the memory of everyone at their homes more than getting the cookies and the ornaments. Having the boys come up and give the cookies to them made their day. I think that there’s just something about children that lift people’s spirits and the kids just behaved so well–smiling, singing, and dancing. What a beautiful night!
I want my kids to know that Christmas is about bringing joy to others and it’s about love. It’s not about gifts and Santa and how many toys they get. They learn more and more about the real meaning of Christmas at church and why we really celebrate it, but I also want them to know about charity and humbleness and service. I want them to know how good it feels to give to others, even in small ways. We had a good start with caroling and the kids got to see Christmas lights along the way, so we just had an all-around beautiful night. I couldn’t ask for more for my children for Christmas.