Every year, our church has a Carol Sing, a Christmas program. It includes CUMC Chancel Choir, CUMC Community Orchestra (I am one of the 2nd violins!), House Blend (men’s quartet, including our music director three of the members are our church members), Ladies First (Concord High School award winning women’ barbershop chorus, some of them are our church members and the conductor is the son of our music director), CUMC Bell Choir, and all the church members for Sing Along.
This is the 16th annual carol sing for our church but first carol sing for me. I did not know what to expect. So, I welcome them with these words:
“I believe that all of you come tonight because you love Jesus and you love music! If you love Jesus, please say Hallelujah! (I heard a loud response). If you love Jesus, say Amen! (Louder response!). I wish all of you can make a good memory tonight, a memory that can sustain you in the times of trouble in your life! Let us begin our memory making program!”
Then we sang together “Joy to the World,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Silent Night.” Then the Marine Corps came to pick up the toys for the children of the less fortunate families. Our lay leader introduced them and they explained when and why they started the program and what they have done. We welcomed them and delivered them two truck full toys.
Then, children were invited to come to the front. They were all on stage and sang “Rudolph” when adults sang with them with refrains. Then we sang more. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Sleigh Ride.”
Our Bell Choir played “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” (arr. By Wagner) and our Chancel Choir sang “Joy! A Carol Cantata for Christmas” (arr. By Cutler). Then we sang more, “Angels We have Heard on High,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!”
House Blend sang three songs, “Deck the Hall” “Merrily Christmas,” and “Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy.” The second song was composed by our music director, Doug Emigh. His family is a music family. His son, Chris Emigh, directed the women’s chorus, Ladies First, who sang beautiful songs.
One of the fun parts came at the time when we sang “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The audience was divided by twelve groups. We were in competition mood. Everybody shouted to make their day the loudest day.
After all the shouts and laughter, orchestra performed “How Quietly” (arr. By Raney) and “All is Calm” (arr. By Smith). That was the time when I could say a short message. With the quite music as background, I share a short piece, reading the following writings:
“I woke up in the middle of night. I could not sleep.
I went to the window. I looked outside. It was dark. I felt lonely.
I lost everything. My wife left me. My children do not call me anymore.
I lost my job, too.
I do not know where it started. I was happy and successful.
It was just bad economy. When I lost my job I blamed my boss.
I drank. I Yelled. It was not a big deal, I thought.
I don’t know what happened.
Maybe I said, if I have a gun I would shot you and kill myself.
Then my wife left. I blamed her. I drank some more. And now I am alone.
From a far distance, I could see a small light.
Is that a church sign?
I remember my home town and a small church there.
I miss them. I miss my family. Maybe I can go back home.
Are they going to welcome me? Are they going to recognize me?
Are they going to like me? I don’t know. But I will try anyway because that is my last hope.
I have nowhere to go.
I pray that I can still live with hope. Oh, Jesus, please, come and save me.
I need you! I wait for your grace.”
Then everybody sang, “Silent Night” I bless them that the Grace of Jesus give them hope in this hopeless world, the Love of God be with them in this lifeless life and the power of the Holy Spirit guide them step by step in their lives toward the joyful and abundant life!”
It took about one and half hour. We passed out 330 gift bags to everybody who came. We put our small note in them: “God loves you and we love you. We give this gift bag with the invitation to our Christmas Sunday Service on Dec. 19th. Our worship time is 10:00 AM on that Sunday. Please come!”
That was a night I had fun with all the church members! Thanks to God!