1st Friday of Advent

Caroling    

Colossians 3:15-17

 15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.

Sirach 39:35

And now, sing hymns
with all your heart and voice,
    and bless the Lord’s name.

Reflection

Who has not enjoyed the fun of going door to door singing Christmas carols and sipping hot chocolate; it is a thrill of the season.  The tradition seems to be passing away to some extent and that is unfortunate.  At one time the tradition was so robust that caroling songs were written about caroling, Here We Come a Wassailing and We Wish you a Merry Christmas come to mind.  The tradition seems to have started in the Middle Ages with groups going door to door intending to pass on blessings in exchange for food.  Later, the request for food was dropped and the groups went to their neighbors motivated simply by the joy of bringing a Christmas blessing in song. 

Many people, today, complain about how isolated people have become from those that live around them.  We feel our neighborhoods pulling apart, yet we let a tradition like caroling slip away.  Caroling helps to introduce one person to another.  Consider the lines of Here We Come a Wassailing, “We are not daily beggars, that beg from door to door; but we are neighbours’ children, whom you have seen before.”  We talk of Christmas blues, but what would happen to those feelings if even one group showed up at your door to sing to you.  Christmas is a time for all to celebrate, and while parties keep the celebration among one group, caroling brings the celebration to everyone around.  Some of my fondest memories of Christmas growing up are going caroling with my Church, while taking cookies with us as presents for the people to whom we sang.  I hope that our caroling was as much a highlight for those individuals as it was for us who caroled.  If Christmas is about bringing people together, there are few ways better than going out to the people and spreading the joy of Christmas.

O Eternal Song, give to me, I pray, the desire to sing your glorious praises and may these praises lead me to the very doors of those around me so that I may share the glories of your name and the love that comes through you, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

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