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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: Why Carol?
By ryan hershey


I couldn’t help myself but to practically count down the seconds to when my father would summon me downstairs. I always wondered if all seventeen year-old boys became this anxious about things they didn’t want to do. I struggled to keep my mind occupied with something other than what I was being drug into tonight. I could never conquer my brain that way. No matter if I was playing video games, looking at baseball cards or partaking in any other hobby. I could never totally keep my mind off of the things I knew were important.
In unison with the buzzer of my mental count down, I dreadfully heard…
“Hey Kevin, it’s time to go bud!” My dad hollered up the stairs.
It didn’t matter how hard I tried to hide out in my quarters, he never once forgot I was there. It bugged me that he called me just expecting me to come. I knew that this specific occasion wasn’t worth me putting up a fight. Although I made my point by trudging down the stairs with noticeable resistance. When I finally got downstairs I was discouraged to see everyone already to go. Several close friends from church and my family were bundled up in their thick coats and festive scarves. Yes, this was the important issue I couldn’t get my mind off of; Christmas carolling with my family and their friends.
I quickly changed my mind set to the task at hand. If anyone remotely close to my age saw me caroling I would be forced to enroll in any university that was outside a 200 mile radius of this town. How was I going to steer this group of 10-12 carolers around the block while avoiding any houses that contained people from the ages of 15-21. That was a large demographic to have to sidestep.
I held my breath at each doorstep hoping for an elderly grandparent type. In the case of someone younger answering the door, I naturally positioned myself towards the back of the group. From an outsiders’ point of view, it might seem that I was working security for the singers rather than actually participating. I was safe through the first three houses. A lady in her sixties or seventies answered the door at each of the first two homes. No one came to the door at the third house. This was odd because all the lights seemed to be on.
We huddled around the fourth stop and began to sing “Silent Night”. I was relieved to see a couple of empty nesters come to the door who appeared to be in their late fifties. The big smiles of the homeowners had dismissed any prior worries or concerns I had when we were approaching the house.
It was at this moment that I realized why people carol. I truly think our group brought a glimpse of Christ’s presence to this couple. This setting was unflawed! I sang proudly with my chin up and my eyes to the sky. As my eyes made their way down the white colonial house, I took in the beauty of each candle in every window. Despite the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit I was still aware that this particular presentation was coming to an end. I brought might focus back to the audience at the building’s threshold.
I quickly noticed a third party had joined the older couple in the doorway. As it turned out, I would not escape this venture humiliation free. There stood a teenage girl leaning on her father’s shoulder staring back at me. She must have joined them half way through the hymn as I was wrapped up in the moment. It was a good thing the group was still singing strongly because my mouth was stuck open now and I think I sang the lyrics “holy cow” instead of “holy night”.
Just as I began to diagram a way out of this embarrassment, I noticed that this girl had a sincere smile on her delicate face. It was amazing to me that I could find more of God’s true sincerity in this one little smile than any huge Christmas production that I had witnessed before. Where my personal pride had once resided was now overtaken by the Holy Spirit. It turns out it wasn’t the act of carolling that I was fighting. It was the Lord himself.

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This article has been read 361 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
Fun, wry humor.

It's a good practice to put an extra "enter" between paragraphs for Challenge entries.

I really, really like the voice of this piece.
Catrina Bradley 10/12/08
You seem to have the teenaged boy's attitude down. I like your writing - a very strong entry.
Edmond Ng 10/14/08
Interesting read. I can understand how the boy feels, but honestly, I think it is more fun to be carolling then to be doing anything else when the time comes. Thank you for making me feel in the mood for carolling already!
Emily Ritter02/09/09
Hey fearless teacher! Nice story! I wonder why you've got the teenager tone down (as another offered!) hmmm... I really like how you focused fully on the Holy Spirit at the end, and the picture of the girl's face. This would have put me in the Christmas spirit, in fact, it's almost Valentine's Day and I think I'm in the spirit now!