by The Caroler
In 1990, as was our family tradition, my husband and I invited children from the local high school aCappella choir, including our son, to sing Christmas Carols to people we felt could use some special Christmas cheer. My husband dressed up as Santa Claus and drove a rented flat bed truck.
The group tied our spinet piano in the flat bed truck and Santa called “All aboard!” Bundled up, we filled the truck with excited carolers. A woman from our church played the piano as we drove and sang. It was cold and windy for southern California.
We first caroled for an 11-year-old boy who was dying of AIDs. He was so weak he couldn’t come outside, but “Santa” backed the truck up to the house windows and his parents held him while we sang to him. Then Santa jumped out and visited George. (George died 3 days later.)
Our next stop was an older couple whose son had committed suicide a few months before. With our hearts full of love we sang to this bereaved couple, giving them homemade Christmas cookies afterwards.
We caroled for several other families. Then Santa asked the group if we minded making just one more stop. We were all tired, cold and wishing to return to “Santa’s” house, but begrudgingly agreed to carol again.
Santa drove our cold, tired group of carolers to the home of a vital, loving and very outgoing woman who shared her love with many others. We got out of the truck, tromped across her lawn and began singing, but got no response.
I told my husband it was silly to sing to a dark house with no one answering the door. We didn’t even have cookies to share with her. He said he “felt” very strongly that we needed to carol there. He asked us to be patient while he went around to the back of the house.
The kids were really cold standing around, not singing and getting grumpier by the minute. About 10 minutes later, “Santa” opened the front door with his arm around a sweet little old lady, and we began caroling again. When we had finished several songs, with tears running down her cheeks, the woman clung to Santa as she thanked us and Santa took her back inside.
After cookies, hot chocolate and a Christmas movie, everyone went home.
Then my husband shared the story of our last caroling stop. “Mary” had recently received divorce papers and was in complete shock. After trying to cope with this devastating news, Mary was in the process of ending her life at the very moment when Santa interrupted her. If not for Santa acting on his gut feeling, this woman would no longer have been in this world.
Christmas is indeed a time for loving, sharing, caring and giving. One never knows what the next minute will hold.