A week ago I finally did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time with our grandkids. We had “Christmas in the Barn.” It was very simple, after a quick supper of vegetable-beef soup, we grabbed a Christmas cookie or two and a cup of hot cocoa or hot apple cider and headed out to the barn. Then Grandma read the Christmas story, stopping at key places and asking questions. Lots of kids were trying to out-do the next one by screaming out the answer at the top of their lungs! At other key places in the greatest story ever told, we would stop and sing a Christmas Carol together. Now, my family can be described in a lot of wonderful, WONDERFUL ways, but being good singers is definitely not one of them. One time we took my then 98 year old mother Christmas caroling in her hometown and liked to embarrass ourselves to death! Listening to the singing inside our hay barn reminded us why we made a pledge to never EVER sing in public again! But, I think the kids had fun and it was a tiny way to emphasize the reason for the season, so we called the night a success even though the kids had been wild, our ears were ringing and we knew we sounded absolutely hideous!
Tonight, even though 9 o’clock is past my bedtime, I had been on my feet all day and I was yawning and having a hard time staying awake, I told Mark I wanted to go into the candlelight Christmas Eve service. He asked if I thought I’d be able to stay awake and I said, yes, I love singing Christmas Carols and after our “barn” attempt it would be nice to sing them with other people who could actually sing! (Now, I am not saying I can sing because I can’t, but with the crowd at church, my voice is covered up and blends with the others) So, off I went!
There is something so serene and beautiful about a church decorated so beautiful for Christmas, especially on Christmas Eve night. I was glad I ignored my tired body and made the effort to come. The service started and it was time to sing the first song. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing as the young girl beside me belted out “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” in a voice that made our barn singing seem like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I could hardly hear the tune of the song above her voice. But, I knew it sounded beautiful to Jesus as he heard the enthusiastic words of worship, not the off-tune singing. With each passing song I smiled more and more as I thought of our rowdy barn crowd. Even though the tune was off – way off, I think a big group of young cousins joyfully singing songs about his birth made Jesus smile just as listening to the young girl joyfully singing the same songs on Christmas Eve was making me smile. It was a good reminder that things don’t have to be perfect to be right and good. I think it is a new tradition I will keep.