This past December I caroled more than I remember caroling in a really long time. First there was a Lessons and Carols event at my seminary. Then a friend had a carol-sing-a-long at her house, where we lit sparklers while singing “Silent Night”. The international students caroled in our courtyards sharing tunes from their home countries. Finally I went caroling with the church that I work at, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square.
As I have become more involved in the church and my awareness of the church year has grown, I’ve noticed that Christmas has fallen to the back of my mind during the month of December. The season of Advent is what reigns supreme. I truly have come to love living in a season that celebrates Christ’s future return to the world, meaning more to me than any Christmas present. But living so deeply in Advent has made me forget a bit about Christmas. Add to it that there was no snow on the ground before the big day and my holiday decorations are back in Cleveland, without the carols this Christmas really could have slipped through my fingertips.
It has literally been since my childhood since I last caroled, and I had forgotten how this simple act serves as a beautiful demonstration of what Christmas is about. We celebrate Christmas because there is no gift greater than Christ coming into the world, allowing us to experience God’s grace in an earthly way. It is because of Christmas we can share in the love and grace of God forever.
This year, as I caroled around the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, I shared the love of God. Sometimes, people received that gift by singing along, like the little girl who kept singing “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells” no matter what tune or words were sung. There was one family who received our gift by inviting us in their house around the piano, transforming our gift of chorus into an instrumental melody. There were others who couldn’t quite handle the gift, turning away from their window. Their reaction reminded me that we each have a unique journey of faith that is on it’s own time table, and our job as Christians is to sing boldly to drawn curtains and darkened doorsteps.
Christmas comes so quickly and leaves even sooner. As we enter into this new year, as we move well beyond Advent and wrapping paper, let us not forget to spread the Christmas message – that God loved us so much God came to live among us as human, dying on a cross for our salvation, and empowering us through a love that is beyond our understanding.This was an article written for Divinity Lutheran Church of Parma Heights, Ohio, originally published in December of 2012 for the January 2013 edition of the “Divinity Digest.”