Over ten years ago my husband started a tradition of caroling through the neighborhood at Christmas time. The flyers would go out and inevitably the same people would show up every year to walk around the neighborhood and sing to every house. Every year I would wish that more people or different people would show up, but it never happened until a few years ago. Two of my regulars called and said they couldn’t make it. The Mormon family who faithfully attended every year with their harmonious voices had moved away. Who would show up? A little after 6:30 the doorbell started ringing and I started getting nervous as each new person showed up. Children outnumbered adults and I worried about how they would behave. I warned them that this was not Halloween and we were not going to run wild to each house. One dad showed up who I would have never picked as a singer. A whole family came in including their one year old little baby. Another couple arrived who had their house up for sale. Then another couple came through the door. I knew their names but had never formally met them. I learned that they had always wanted to come ever since we carolled at their house the night the wife had come home from the hospital after having surgery. She had to stay on the first floor and they were so touched by our little group singing that year. Wow. I had no idea.
So there we were, our little caroling group that numbered more children than adults. We had our battery operated candles and paper-clipped songbooks and started off to the first house. I was unsure about how we would sound. In years past I could count on at least one other person to sing harmony with me. Not this year, but it didn’t matter. We all sang well together, and without rehearsal too. Even the kids behaved. We had so much fun going through all the songs, especially Jingle Bells. Have you ever sung the second verse to Jingle Bells? Go look it up; you’ll definitely get a kick out of it.
I assumed it would be a disaster but was wrong. Wrong again!How many times do I assume one thing about people and find out that I’m totally wrong? I assumed chaos with so many children but was so blessed to witness how joyful and unpretentious they were. I was nervous about singing with people I hardly knew and assumed we wouldn’t be unified, but I was wrong. We had so much fun and got to know each other a little more. Never, ever assume things about people. God will almost always prove you wrong. It’s so good to be wrong sometimes.
Three years ago a young couple showed up at the doorstep to carol with us. They had recently moved from Australia on a three year assignment. Confident and in search of community, they showed up and fit right in to our little group. This year will be their last time caroling with us before moving back to Australia. It was such a lovely surprise to have them three years ago and we have had a lot of fun getting to know each other while playing board games and ping pong.
People are wonderful and interesting and generous. And my assumptions about them are almost always wrong – so blessedly and gloriously wrong.