Why we should go Christmas Carolling
Every Christmas I take my family out, including my teenage boy, and we go sing Christmas carols to our neighbours and drop of Christmas treats. We've been doing this for about 5 years and honestly, I don't know anyone else who does it. We love singing and we love Christmas carols so sharing the joy is simply ... a joy.
This year, however, the carols took on a new meaning. Folk in our area are and have been plagued by government forced isolation and lock-downs, no singing in religious services, not seeing the face of the person you're talking to and standing an absurd distance away from you in a conversation. We went door to door and the responses we got were heartwarming, touching, eager and astounded. The reaction took my family a bit by surprise. In past years, some folk just want to shut the door because they're cold and want you to leave. This year, however, everyone was welcoming and the moments meaningful.
The moments were so charged that I began to look at what we were really singing and was astounded at the potency of the lyrics of these carols. The beauty and awe by which they describe and celebrate the birth of Jesus is truly second to none. From the beautiful child-like songs such as Away in a Manger and Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella to the profound verses of In a Bleak Midwinter and Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming, to the fun songs like I Saw Three Ships and the story of Good King Wenceslas - these songs tell a story most profound and search the depths of the infinite.
So why are we not singing these carols and carolling door to door? Are these songs not the greatest evangelism tool we have as Catholics?
Let me explain: the songs are Christmas songs and they bring a feeling of nostalgia to those that hear them. Right here, from the get-go we have captured audience. Further, evangelism entails promoting the good, the true and the beautiful. Each of us is moved and touched by things beautiful, things that are good and the truth. Christmas carols proclaim the truth, they are deeply and aesthetically beautiful and they are a joy to hear and sing with. They are songs of adoration, joy, hope and love.
Thus, since Christmas is an octave, we should be singing them and sharing them with our neighbours. I don't know if there is a greater way to tell the story of God's love for us. Once in Royal David's City brings us from the birth of Christ in His manger throne all the way to His throne in Heaven. Hark the Herald Angels Sing with great gusto at the end of the song sings
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Further, the Christmas songs praise Our Lady too! The Holly and the Ivy tells the joy and sorrows of Mary. The Cherry Tree share the story of the authority of Mary as the Mother of God and The Snow Lay on the Ground tells of her purity. It's all here! Packaged and ready to share.
Where to begin?
At home. Around the hearth. At night with eggnog, surrounded by books and games and family. Sing as a family. Explore the songs. Learn new ones each year. Let the beauty woo and teach your children.
Then head out carolling and share the good news.
Kenton E. Biffert