Last night, Dan and the kids and I had the pleasure of joining with our church's middle school choir and singing at one of the homeless shelters in our area. Admittedly, not all of us went joyfully. One of us insisted he would be lip-synching, as he's not much of a singer.
After church, we piled in our van, and joined a half dozen other cars to drive into the city. We arrived with trays of homemade cookies, jingle bells and Santa hats, and a guitar. Father Mike welcomed us warmly, which was appreciated as the temperatures were well below zero. He set us up in the hallway by the cafeteria and said, "Sing, and they will come."
So we sang. All of us. Even our 15-year-old lip-syncher was soon belting it out with the rest of us. A few people came at first, then a few more and soon it was hard to know which group was which as some of the residents stood with us, sharing sheet music, and our kids were sharing jingle bells with the residents' kids. As we all sang Deck the Halls our choir director was instructing the men to sing the first fa-la-la, the women to sing the second line of fa-la-la, the children would sing the third line, and last we all joined in together. And our voices blended together, and we sang as one. We sang about sleds jingling through the snow, Santa coming to town and snowmen, and then we praised the One who sent the baby Jesus one Silent Night, to a little town called Bethlehem, and brought Joy to the World.
As we left, there was much talking and laughter and visiting among the residents and the carolers. The initial shyness and reserve had faded, at least for the moment. We clasped hands and wished one another Merry Christmas. There were no presents, no fancy clothes or fancy h'orderves. But there was more Christmas in that room than I've felt all season.
I know that the joy of it will last longer in my heart than it will for those who are still wondering where their next home will be and how they will feed their kids. And today I'll be back to making my lists and working on the details for Christmas dinner. But, hopefully I'll do so with a lighter touch and with a song in my heart.