A few weeks ago, I had an inspiration again this year of seeing if friends from the group consecrated to Mary wanted to go Christmas caroling at a nursing home that I used to visit for Mass and Holy Communion. I know that the residents love it, and I also see a good opportunity for all of us to express a love for Christ in the weak and neglected and abandoned.
So, I sent out an email and a bunch of friends responded and decided to go and to get together afterwards for a little potluck dinner with singing and fellowship. We had a motley mix of folks: adults, kids, infants, men and women, going to visit a whole mix of elderly and the staff, and so of course we had the Santa hats and sheet music that covered all the Christmas favorites.
So, when we got there, there was a little mix-up, some communication problem – they weren’t expecting us. So the activities assistant Diane comes up to me and says, “Well, I didn’t know you were coming, so I don’t know what you had planned. But I know a couple of locations here that are really down and could use some lifting up.” Let’s do it, I said.
So we get to the first stop and start singing, and there are my two friends Mary and Helen, and Ed is adding in his vocals here and there. The whole mood changed. Then we went to the next stop, and the staff gathered the residents together, the women enthralled with the kids, and Frank belting out Silent Night with all his voice. It was like a someone turned a light on inside the residents.
So we went back to Bob’s and had dinner together, and afterwards, a bunch of us are in his living room. Now, in Bob’s living room there are couches and chairs, and a large grand piano, so picture a bunch of adults sitting around in the chairs. Now, picture a 17-month-old girl in the middle of it all. OK, big deal, right? So, little Gianna walks up to our friend Tina and taps on her, and then walks over to the piano bench and taps on that. So, Tina gets up and tries her hand at the piano. Little Gianna, taps on me and goes and taps on the CD player playing. OK, I’m the CD guy. Then, our friend Elaine, who can play the piano really, really well, gets up and gets onto the piano bench to play. What happens? Little Gianna shakes her head no. Then she proceeds to waddle over to an empty couch seat and tap on that – then she taps on Tina again, and waddles over to the piano bench and taps on that. We all laughed!
So this went on and on, and I’m thinking, this little baby girl is running the show!
And then I got it.
What type of people are going to get together as a motley crew and go sing Christmas carols to strangers in a place like a nursing home? What type of people are going to give up their Saturday afternoon in the height of the busiest time of year and visit a place that most people don’t even like to talk about, never mind enter? Now I saw.
People that would follow a little child.
And a little child shall lead them. (Is 11:6)
Jesus was born in a cold cave, a winter animal shelter. It’s a place most people wouldn’t want to think about, never mind enter. But a motley crew of shepherds and philosophers came into that cave together and saw God’s salvation. They came because they would follow a little child.
We can come together, we can bring the light of God into the world, we can enter the dark places and be messengers and witnesses of His salvation. We can be with God, doing what He is doing, His greatest works of love and life – this is for us to have and to do. If ….
If we will follow a little child.