“This is a great experience for all ages because caroling requires heart and joy, not musical prowess, and kids from 1 to 92 can join in.”
— Mark Burrows, Director of Children’s Ministries
For most of us, Christmas is a special time of cheer and celebration. Between the decorations, presents, holiday events, and more, the joy of the season is in the air. For others, the Christmas spirit is not always so present. FUMCFW created Christmas Cheer in 2014 as a way to share our good tidings with others. First, caroling groups travel to downtown assisted living facilities to spread God’s love through song and fellowship. Then, it’s back to Wesley Hall to celebrate the joy of Christmas together.
Mark Burrows, Director of Children’s Ministries, says he loves this event because it does such a great job of meshing the meaningful with the fun. “My favorite part is getting on a bus with other church members (some who I know, and others I don’t) to go sing Christmas carols with and for people who might not otherwise get that experience,” he recalls. Mark sees it as a great experience for all ages. As he puts it, kids from 1 to 92 can join in. “Caroling requires heart and joy, not musical prowess,” he adds. “It’s also a wonderful ‘first outreach’ experience for families who want their children to learn the value of reaching out in service to others.”
Danielle Walker, who was a chairperson for last year’s event, agrees that Christmas Cheer is a good holiday experience for all ages. To her, it’s about things that all people love: singing Christmas carols and connecting with others. Plus, there are not very many opportunities where the entire family can serve others together. “For the kids, it is easy — they already know the songs, they love to sing, and they get to explore a new place,” Danielle says. “For the adults, it is familiar and highly rewarding.” She feels like most people can relate to having a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility and not getting to visit as often as they’d like. “By singing to the resident, I feel that we are making them happy in a small way, and it makes me hope that someone is doing the same for my loved one far away.” Danielle adds.
A particular memory that stood out to Mark and Danielle was singing carols in the halls. A man who had not wanted to come out and listen when they first started singing ended up asking all of the carolers to come into his room, and then he requested Silent Night. “We gathered around and sang for him,” Mark remembers. “After he wiped away his tears, he said it had been his late wife’s favorite carol.” Danielle recalls that the kids were singing loud and bright and having a great time, but most of the adults had tears in their eyes just like the resident. “Sometimes the memories of the classic Christmas songs bring back emotions for the residents and the people doing the singing,” she explains.
Tammy Frazier attended last year’s event, and she says what she enjoyed the most was seeing her son respond to the people in the home they visited. It was obvious to them that many of the residents did not recall much. They couldn’t read the words on the sheet, but after singing a few songs most of the ladies joined in. They were told that song is among the last remaining memories for many people. Tammy describes their experience as amazing and beautiful. “We spend so much of our holiday season looking for the perfect gift or the right outfit for a party, but at the end of the day our children take away the memories of the moments with us,” she declares. “What better way to teach our children that giving of themselves is the greatest gift.”
Caroling isn’t the only thing to look forward to during Christmas Cheer. “After the service aspect of the day, there is a wonderful party — a reward, if you will, for all those that came,” Danielle points out. “It is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and enjoy fellowship with members of our congregation.” The celebration includes carriage rides, flip books, a Christmas card station, and cookie decorating. Danielle finds that the activities are family-friendly and very easy, and you can stay anywhere from a few minutes to the whole hour.
Join the fun and share the spirit during this “amazing and beautiful” churchwide caroling and Christmas celebration event on Sunday, December 13. In the words of Buddy the Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” FUMCFW invites you to sing with us to help make the holidays merry and bright for others.
For more information about 2015 Christmas Cheer, contact Elizabeth Marshall (email@example.com) at 817/339-5096.
Christmas Cheer: A Churchwide Caroling & Christmas Celebration
Sunday, December 13
2:30 pm | Starting in Wesley Hall
2:30 – 4:00 pm | Community caroling
4:00 – 5:30 pm | Christmas celebration | Wesley Hall
Join us for this special day of service and fun! We’ll meet in Wesley Hall to kick off Christmas Cheer, which begins with caroling groups traveling to downtown assisted living facilities to share God’s love through song and fellowship. Then it’s back to Wesley Hall to celebrate the joy of Christmas with carriage rides, flip books, a Christmas card station, and cookie decorating. For more information, contact Elizabeth Marshall (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 817/339-5096.