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

TITLE: Wonders of the Season
By Sheryl Glasen
10/08/08


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As the group of girls ahead of me entered the lobby of the old folk's home I grew more aware of my hesitation to follow. I took advantage of the fact that the doorway was just about to max capacity and remained outside holding my sheet music in hand. Singing had never been a big strong point for me, I was too shy to actually be audible. But my reluctance to enter went beyond shyness or lack of self confidence. To my dismay the leaders of our teen choir group were inside ushering people further into the building to make ample room for all of us. I looked at my friend Sara who was smiling in my direction. I wondered if she could sense my discomfort but she seemed to be oblivious. She always seemed to be at ease in any situation that she was in, and her singing voice, well lets just say, God had definitely blessed her.
As I took my place next to Sara I started to notice the lack of decorations that were set up. My family had completely decked out our house in Christmas decorations about three weeks ago. My mom always made sure we set aside the day after Thanksgiving to start getting into the season. I guess I just assumed that decorations should be adorning every nook and crany of everyone's dwelling. Here at Sunnyside Assisted Living they had a sparsely decorated tree set up in the corner, it was lacking the homemade decorations that I was used to. Other than the solitary tree though there was no other sign of Christmas fast approaching. I think this lack of green and red made me even more uncomfortable and I was able to pinpoint my uneasiness with the situation. What I expected upon entering the home was to find some sad lonely people, and when I saw the abysmal decorations I thought it reinforced my opinion of old folk's homes. Looking back I realize that the group of elderly audience members that were gathered to listen to us really was no different than many of the grandparents that I had met of the other girls that I was with. But in the moment I was just so filled with sadness for them.
Sara signaled us with the start of our carols. We had been practicing for weeks but that night we sounded completely different to me. I have always loved Christmas carols I guess that is why I signed up for this group even though I did not consider myself a singer by any stretch of the imagination. As we sang our first couple of songs our audience became much more animated to me. I noticed a glistening in one gentleman's eyes but instead of seeing pain that I expected I saw a joy so great that it overflowed. Instantly I felt a warmth come over me and to my surprise I could actually hear my own voice. I blended beautifully with the rest of the choir and was not self conscious in the least.
After we had gone through just about every carol in our hymnals we stayed to have some cookies and visit with the residents of Sunnyside. The gentleman with the glistening eyes came over to me after a few minutes. He introduced himself as Henry. Henry had been living at Sunnyside for over six years and enjoyed all the activities that the facility provided. It was great talking to Henry and I actually found myself having a hard time getting ready to say goodbye.
"You know, there certainly is something special about Christmas carols." Henry said.
"I have always loved the Christmas season, especially the music." I responded.
"Its more than that, when I hear even the tune of a carol I am instantly reminded of the wonderful gift that was born that first Christmas morn. Something as simple as a certain combination of musical notes can conjure up that memory at any time and its just one more thing to thank God for. And I thank you for coming to share your gift with us."
"I have never thought of my singing as a gift to anyone, thank you Henry. I really enjoyed meeting you."
As I walked out into the crisp clear night I thanked God for the wonder of the season. I started out the evening almost pitying the residents of Sunnyside in but just a few carols with them and some fellowship made me realize that God finds ways to bless our lives at all stages. But it appeared that at all ages we could stop together and enjoy the music.


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Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
Nice story of a change of heart at Christmas.

For ease of reading, please, an extra "enter" at the end of each paragraph. And be careful of run-on sentences and comma splices.

This has an authentc voice, very readable.