The Joy of Christmas Carols

Alden Swanson lay dying in his hospital bed. It was Christmas Eve, and Alden felt hope, and his life, ebbing away. Then, from far below, he heard voices; quiet at first, the growing stronger.

"Joy to the World, the Lord is Come."

"Oh Come All Ye Faithful"

"Silent Night, Holy Night."

Below his window, the youth group from Alden's church was singing Christmas carols. A wave of joy and hope washed over Alden, one that carried him all the way to a full recovery. God remembered him.

"My life was given back to me," Alden would later say, He never tired of telling the story of what happened that night, always grateful for the grace he had been given. I remember the time, more than 20 years, he sat in our senior high class at the the Evangelical Covenant Church of Attleboro, Massachusetts and told the story once more.

Last December, a few days before Christmas, we bundled up our three kids, and ventured out in the ice and snow with a dozen friends to go Christmas caroling in the neighborhood. As we knocked on each house the response was the same--a puzzled look, then a smile as the realization of what we were doing dawned on them. Then profuse thanks, accompanied with cookies, candy, and in one case, a $20 bill. One neighbor pulled on her coat and went with us in her slippers."I haven't done this in years," she said.

We ended up back at hope for soup and hot chocolate. It was absolutely fabulous.

Tomorrow night, we're off to do it again, this time starting with chili, and the caroling, followed by hot chocolate. Come along if you like. Or take your own kida and a few friends and bring some of the joy of Christmas to your neighbors.

Angels, from the realms of glory,
wing your flight o'er all the earth;
ye who sang creation's story,
now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship, come and worship,
worship Christ, the newborn King.


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