We got to do one of my favorite Christmas activities again this year. It's been a few years since we were able to go since it really wasn't feasible given our situation the last number of Christmases.
A sizable group from our church split up into two groups to visit local nursing homes and private dwellings in the neighborhood to bless them with song. At least I hope we blessed them. But judging from the smiles, tears and hugs I am pretty sure we did.
Our group did 3 nursing homes and 5-6 homes of older folks from the church who were living alone, those without family nearby or those who were shut-ins because of health issues.
After walking the halls of 3 nursing homes our legs were sore but it was worth it. This man told us how 80 years ago he used to do what we were doing and now he was the recipient of the caroling. He said it was his best Christmas ever but I am not sure if he really meant that. :)
Some of the folks were in bad shape and it was all I could do to hold back the tears and keep singing.
It is sobering and really evokes a spirit of gratitude.
We would always ask if they had any requests and they all said the same thing, "Oh anything, I love them all!". The homes were very simple and simply decorated. Not much to speak of for decoration except a simple nativity set and a "Jesus is Lord" sign over their door and a few pictures of family. Kind of makes you think about all our accumulating of stuff, especially at this time of the year. When we are at the end of our life what really matters? We get so caught up in getting the latest thing but before we know it we will be 80+ and living alone or in a nursing home or near death and what will we want to be remembered for? I loved hearing our fellow carolers saying about various people, "oh, we are going to Mrs. ____'s house? I love her! She helped me with my school paper or makes me feel so special or has been such a blessing to the church."
These experiences, while wonderful for the recipients are much more of a blessing for the givers. I am so proud of my little carolers for going strong for 3 hours, singing, giving hugs and warming many hearts with their smiles. I am also thankful for the opportunity we can give our children to give back to the older generations and be involved, even a little, in their lives.