Last Thursday night, one of my new friends and I decided to host a caroling party together. We'd meet at her house, go around the block, and end up at my place for cookies and cocoa.
So I began inviting people. Whoever likes to sing, I said. The more the merrier. I invited friends I passed on the street. I invited the entire church choir. I invited my next-door neighbor. I came from Nevada, you see, where people are too busy for caroling. Where I had to invite twelve people to get four.
This huge mob showed up at my friend's house. My meager stack of twenty carol books were not enough to go around. But as we finished singing through our first carol my friend turned around from the piano, beaming at us, and said, "Now it can be Christmas! That sound in my house made it Christmas."
We took the show on the road. Light rain sprinkled down on us as we strolled. In my opinion, Christmas music sounds best when sung on front porches in the dark. I loved the bright smiles on the faces of our neighbors as I stood with a crowd of singers at my back, leading "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Oh, Holy Night," "Deck the Halls," and a host of other favorites.
By the time we trooped back to my place I hardly had any voice left. There must have been thirty children sitting on the floor, waiting for the cocoa to heat up. My house was full of people, my table full of cookies, the air full of the sounds of talking and of children taking turns playing their Christmas music on the piano. I kept busy serving drinks and mopping spills, too delighted by it all for anything to go wrong.
As the last guests walked away I smiled to see wayward slippers and a forgotten umbrella gracing my front porch. That meant we'd had people over. I looked forward to seeing them again when they came back to get their missing things.
I've had my caroling party. Now it can be Christmas.