I saw a survey yesterday that confirmed that neighborhood Christmas caroling is on the wane. With clickable advent calendars and online shopping, the demise of neighborhood carolers is not a surprise to anyone. But it is sad. I was mourning the disappearance of those “good old days” last night as my husband and I walked our children home from a dinner at a friends’ house. So, I started singing “Deck The Halls.” Jon and the girls joined in. We segued to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and as we turned the corner we began “We Three Kings.”
We were a tiny little group of carolers and I wondered if anyone could even hear us out there in the dark. And what would they think if they could? I got my answer almost instantly. From a few houses down we heard a voice crying out in the wilderness, or at least singing out into the darkness: “Ohhh, ohhhh! Star of Wonder! Star of Light! Star with royal beauty bright!” It was a rich, deep baritone voice coming from a ladder across the street where someone was hanging a string of Christmas lights. We couldn’t see his face, we never even spoke, but we sang the whole song with him as we walked down the sidewalk. We crossed the street as he swung into “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire (The Christmas Song)” and harmonized with us until we turned into our driveway. “Although it’s been said many times, many ways: Merry Christmas to you!” And we called out into the night “Good-night!” And he called back “Merry Christmas!” And I sighed and smiled. Maybe there are few “good old days” still left.