Confession: I never, ever get my fill of the Christmas carols. For this reason, one of our new favorite-of-favorite holiday traditions is inviting friends in for a hymn sing.
Each year, our local community enjoys a Christmas concert at 4:00 on a Sunday afternoon—and we’ve found that in the evening afterwards, very few of our friends have other plans made. We’re already dressed up and in the mood for joy. It’s the perfect time to get together.
We borrow Songs of Faith and Praise from our church house, and The Mennonite Hymnal from our sister church; and we ask my dad (who is good at things like this) to bring along lesser-known sheet music for us to try.
Then we line up two very capable babysitters to entertain our 15-20 kiddos upstairs, with books and games and child-friendly food.
And then—we sit in the living room and just sing.
Partway through the evening we break for food: this year, a build-your-own taco bar with lots of fixings.
It doesn’t all go as planned. My boys throw hissy fits about sharing their Legos. I later vacuum chip crumbs from every corner of my upstairs. And when we try to finish the music with a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus, we can’t remember where to go, and get stuck in an endless circle involving “King of Kings” forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever—And so we end the evening hunched over my very quiet laptop instead, listening to Christopher Hogwood’s chorus perform it, so at least we can get the final chord Exactly Right.
But oh, it is JOY!
I love to see the bright faces of family and friends. I love the way the children glow over the fun they had. Most of all, I love the beauty of a dozen or more full voices blending together in worship of a newborn King, and in friendship with one another. This is the part I long to come back to each year. Glorious!
Where do you sing the songs of Christmas? Which carol do you love best?
And if you are local and wish you were here, tell me! I’d love to include you next year…