This family tradition started accidentally when we only had two little girls. We were in our first home, on a quiet street, no sidewalks, and a few friends starting out like us. I wanted to have a Christmas party in our first-ever home, but without a lot of funds, all our friends with babies, and not a lot of room, I decided on a caroling party. Construction paper invitations said it would be right after supper, babies could come. Dress to be outside. Bring a plate of cookies to share and a flashlight. Hot chocolate and song sheets to be provided.
We pulled the little ones on sleds and wagons down the street singing Jingle Bells. We rapped on doors and sang out a carol when the door opened to surprised and appreciative faces. After covering the neighborhood we went home for cookies and hot chocolate, then home for bedtime. Neighbors talked about it all year and looked forward to the next one. Over the next forty years and many neighborhoods in many states, our tradition continued.
Eventually boyfriends, girlfriends, fiancees and new spouses joined us, and then grandchildren who ran up and pushed the doorbells, just like their parents had done. In 2000 we retired to the mountains, leaving family, friends and neighborhoods, and the sweet memories of about 40 annual Christmas parties in snow, rain, balmy winter eves, or windy and cold. The weather never matters when joy is shared. Warm mittens, steaming hot chocolate, snowflakes falling under the street lights and untrained voices singing traditional Christmas carols, what could be a nicer annual memory.
Serve Jehovah with gladness. Come before his presence with singing.