Every year since I can remember, we’ve gathered in a parking lot. Our breath fogs the air between us, but quick smiles light the darkness like flaring matches. There is always a group of us carolers, but the tow-headed youngsters are the stars of the night.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Instruments are slipped from their cases and forced to hold a tune against the icy air. The same green hand-made songbooks are passed out, baskets laden with cookie plates are unearthed, and the tracts are readied. The preparations complete, we crowd into a care home and carols of Jesus’ birth reverberate the whole night long.
Let earth receive her King!
If you’ve never tried caroling as a Christmas outreach, why not make this your first year? It is one of the very best ways to share the Gospel with your community!
Who? Gather your family or gather a group; remember that enthusiasm matters more than numbers! Sing to the wheelchair-bound elderly at nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and care homes. Sing to your neighbors. Sing to wide-eyed, pajama-clad children in the neglected neighborhoods in your town.
How? If you want to sing at nursing homes, be sure to call ahead and plan a schedule that works with their routine. Allow plenty of travel and gathering time in between each location! If you choose to sing in neighborhoods, be sure to go at a reasonable time to find the most people possible at home.
What to bring? This is the part where you can have fun and add your own personal touches![bullet_list icon=”check”]
- We always bring wrapped plates of cookies or sweet bread to hand out to people. Make sure to also bring along a few plates of fruit for diabetics, and check with the front desk at a nursing home about dietary restrictions.
- Tracts to hand out along with the goodies!
- Hymnals or, better yet, print out booklets of Christmas songs for easy access.
- Plenty of voices and even some instruments for beautiful music!
What to expect? Appoint someone as the song leader to call out the next song and keep the group moving. Also make sure you have several people volunteering to take the goodies and tracts to the people. (The elderly will think they’re getting the gift of the century if a child hands cookies to them!)
With all this organization, however, you don’t want to neglect to take the time to ask your listeners for their favorite songs and to share the love of Christ with them. This year, I paused to hold the hand of a bed-ridden woman who exclaimed, “You’re the first group who has come to sing to me this year!” I watched the woman who cried last year when we sang and who sobbed again this year at the first note, assuring us all the while that they were happy tears. I heard the story of the man to whom we caroled last year, but who is no longer alive this year, and it gave me a sense of the significance of this yearly event.
So what do you need to carol the light of Christ to a lost world?
You don’t need the world’s best voice.
You don’t need an orchestra of instruments.
You don’t need a group of fifty—in fact, your family is probably the perfect group!
You do need to just get out there and do it.
You do need to be prepared to love and be loved.
You do need to give unselfishly and receive humbly.
And those tow-headed youngsters flashing dimpled grins and lisping “Away in the Manger” don’t hurt a bit!
Let every heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing.
Lauren’s best friends are her family–her parents, Steve and Jennifer, and her siblings. She is passionate about history, good music, and being a feminine woman in a feminist culture. You’ll find her blogging at One Bright Corner with her twin sister, Mikaela, and typing behind-the-scenes on the Christian Heritage blog and newsletter. When she’s not doing that, she loves running her music studio, being outside, and ministering with her family!