So I was a little sad on Sunday night. My hubby’s cousin is a music pastor, and they were having the last performance of their annual Christmas program. It brought back memories of previous years, and the annual tradition of Round the Table Carol Sing.
That was the name of the Christmas program at our previous church. It was a huge undertaking of music, drama, sets, and a whole lot of Burnt Almond Cake. There was a contemporary story, that was mixed in with a retelling of the story of Jesus birth. What I remember most about Carol Sing was the reaction of those who came to watch. They were always amazed by all of the surrounding sets, lighting and costumes. It was pretty over the top! I was privileged to be a part of it for a couple of years. Nothing special, just a part of the choir, except for that one year when I played a Santa Baby. My hubby still enjoys that hazy memory. It was such a wonderful experience. Why? Well, to be a part of something that brought so much joy to people was exciting. It was something that I could not do alone, but with God and a whole group of people, amazing things happen.
So as I was putting silverware on tables at the Lemoore Christmas Community dinner, I teared up a little. I was just feeling a little homesick. Nostalgic. Well since I am not a pretty crier, I quickly got myself under control and got back to work. I was an Elf after all, and nobody likes a sad elf. So my duties for the evening would be to help facilitate the craft and presents at a couple of tables. Greet the families and just help to ensure that they were having a good time. After I gave my new friends a general idea of what would happen during the evening; dinner/presents/raffles/pictures, we just started having a fun together. Talking, laughing and teasing each other. The kids enjoyed making their ornament and who doesn’t love some cake after dinner.
I made some extra special friends at one table. I had some bells that I had put on ribbons a couple of years ago, and they had been hanging on my tree each year. Before I left home, I had grabbed them and put them on my wrist. There is nothing better than walking around jingling, much to my hubby’s dismay. Anyway, at one point during the evening, one of the girls said she liked them. So I took them off, separated the strings and gave one to each girl. I was very happy that I had three, how perfect was that! I now have friends for life.
The organizers made sure that those who attended were lavished with care, food, pictures and then there was more. They were shocked, then excited and then they were delighted by each new surprise. At one table a fifteen year old young sat with his family. He was a happy guy. Those were his words, not mine. He seemed truly impressed by everyone’s generosity and gave me a big hug before they left. I have never met him before and may never see him again, but I will remember the look in his eyes for the rest of my life. Their table did not open the presents they were given, so I told him that I hoped the present would be good. I stood with his mom as they pulled tickets for the raffle, hoping she would win that gift card to Payless. Funny how excited you can get for someone else when you are not in the raffle yourself.
One of the boys at the other table was excited. He whispered that he had peeked into the package and the present inside was good. Then I was excited too! We laughed together, and I was so relieved that he was going to like what he received.
As the night ended I could not believe what an amazing time I’d had. It was then That I remembered Carol Sing. It was that same type of feeling. The one that comes when so many people come together and do a great work, that none of them could have done alone. When they let generosity, hope and grace flow from God through them. So many presents, so much food, so much time and so many people! Those who organized this event not only provided a meal and presents, they gave those who attended a night where they were treated as honored guests.
And as for me? Next year, no more tears. I am excited to say that I have a new Christmas tradition.