Each year my church puts together an Advent Devotional Booklet. This year the theme was “Carols and Caroling,” and this was my submission.
My daughter loves to sing. Even before I knew this about her, I enjoyed taking Camille caroling with our church each Christmas. I saw how the nursing home residents brightened at the sight of her, even when all she could do was wave around her pudgy baby arms in a Christmas dress.
When she was 3 years old, however, Camille was ready to do more than look cute. She was ready to sing! Unfortunately, I’d neglected my parental duty to teach her proper Christmas carols in advance.
As we gathered in the lobby of the nursing home, the adults began singing “Silent Night,” their voices accompanied by the sound of sweet chimes.
And by the sound of Camille singing “FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, WAS A JOLLY HAPPY SOUL!”
She didn’t know the words to “Silent Night,” but that wasn’t going to stop my girl from performing for her adoring audience! And I wasn’t much help to the rest of the carolers, as I was unable to continue singing because I had a sudden fit of giggles.
Fast-forward two more Christmases to 2011. We practiced our carols that year, and Camille was beginning to read which made it easier to follow the song sheets. But then – oh happy day – THEN Rev. Richardson asked if she would like to play a hand chime. Would she ever!
I dutifully held the song sheet for her, bent low so she could read along and look for her cue to play. This also put me in a rather vulnerable position, so that when she energetically rang her chime, I was often hit on the head with it.
But I couldn’t be upset. Not when she sang “Frosty the Snowman” instead of “Silent Night.” Not when she smacked me on the head with a hand chime. Not even the fourth time she smacked me on the head with a hand chime (maybe a little bit the fifth time).
I couldn’t be upset, because her heart was absolutely in the right place. She didn’t know the proper words to sing, but she sang anyway. She’d never played a hand chime before, but given the opportunity, she played it with determination and enthusiasm. I’m pretty sure the other carolers didn’t mind. The residents didn’t seem to mind either. And I’m certain God appreciated her spirit and her gifts.
When we face new challenges in our own Christian journey, may we have the spirit, determination and enthusiasm of my caroling Camille. God doesn’t expect perfection, He just asks for a willing heart. What better gift could we give him this year?