People often debate the merits of modern Christmas traditions, but there is one tradition that, while less common than in past years, is alive and well among Sojourners: Christmas caroling.
Sojourners love getting together in groups, walking around our neighborhoods and singing of our savior’s birth. And it may surprise you to learn that many of these neighbors love it too! Here are a few testimonies from this past Wednesday’s Sojourn caroling, around the Midtown Campus neighborhoods:
• At least three groups had folks come out of their homes and finish the caroling routes with them, to sing to their neighbors. A couple even came back to the church building and hung out with us as we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate.
• A neighborhood lady who we’ve struck up a relationship with came to sing with us. Despite intense back pain, she walked the whole route and joyfully sang every note with us. She said she “wouldn’t have missed it.” She also knew many of the folks we were singing to, including her brother, who began to call the rest of their family and tell them what was happening.
• According to one Shelby Park Sojourner, one of her neighbors was literally jumping for joy when they started caroling.
• One elderly woman told a group, with tears in her eyes, that she hadn’t seen anything like this in 40 years.
These stories are just a few of the reasons why I’m glad that caroling is a yearly tradition at all of our campuses. We certainly have enough community group leaders and families to cover some serious ground.
Tips for caroling:
- Be friendly, Christmas is a time of celebration and these songs are to enjoyed.
- Go as a good-sized group (6-15) that’s not overwhelming. Showing community like this is attractive and gives opportunity to show God’s love in relationship.
- Have a short practice session indoors beforehand with copies of music lyrics available so everyone can learn together and also get to know each other.
- Communicate with the houses you carol at clearly. If they enjoyed your group, have something to leave with them about your church, service times, location, contact information, etc. Our Christmas Eve invites (available each Sunday at the Welcome Table) will work great.
- Write down address and names after your time caroling. Hopefully, you will have further interactions if they are your neighbors. Remembering names is great way to show compassion and intentionally.
What are some of your ideas or best practices in caroling? Any stories of how God has used caroling in your life or neighborhood?