Cindy and the other members of the church youth choir mingled with the folks from the Bay View nursing home. The teens listened, offering smiles and encouragement, as the elderly retold tales of yesteryear. Conversations about the depression, World War II, aches, pains, medication, surgical procedures and death flew about the room as everyone feasted on the Christmas cookies the choir brought with them.
“Form up!” Pastor Randy called out from the front windows.
Grateful for the excuse, Cindy extracted herself from a wheel-chair bound gentleman who had been telling her for the last twenty minutes that someone had stolen his cows. The short, dark haired girl took her place on the front right side of the choir. She waited as a few stragglers found their spots in the formation.
As the last strains of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” echoed in the large room, the residence applauded heartily.
“Merry Christmas” the teenagers called, as they filed neatly out the door, relieved to be once again in the cold December air, away from the disturbing smells of the nursing home.
Pastor Randy stood next to the bus’s open door. “Can’t you guys move any faster?” He teased as the group rushed to get their favourite seats. Cindy held back from the rest.
“P.R. what are we doing next?” she asked him, after all the others had boarded.
“Heading back to the church for some pizza and games.”
“Do you think we could add one more stop?” Cindy asked quietly.
“I don’t know, Cindy. What do you have in mind?”
Cindy let the words spill forth. “Well, my neighbour, Mrs. Thomas. See, her husband died earlier this year, and this is going to be her first Christmas all alone. Their house was always, like, the best decorated on our whole street. This year, there isn’t sign of a Christmas light anywhere. I was just thinking, maybe, we could, perhaps stop by her house and sing her a few songs. It is right on the way back to the church. It really wouldn’t take that much time.” Cindy bit her bottom lip as she waited for the youth pastor’s response.
“Well, let’s see what everyone else thinks of this.”
Cindy got on the bus and took a seat. Pastor Randy stood in the center aisle and explained Cindy’s request. A cheer of approval erupted as the choir members embraced the idea of an impromptu concert.
“I guess we’re going to see Mrs. Thomas.” P.R. said, taking his seat behind the wheel. “Cindy, could you pass out the batter operated candles while I drive over there. Everyone make sure that your batteries are still working. We want to look like real Christmas carollers tonight!”
Everyone was ready as the bus parked on the street in front of 157 Maple Dr. The house was dark.
“Are you sure she’s home?” Pastor Randy asked.
“She’s there.” Cindy confirmed, pointing to a dim light in one of the upstairs windows.
The youth filed quietly out of the bus. Shuffling through the ankle-deep snow they found their places.
“Okay you guys,” Pastor Randy whispered. “Let’s brighten up Mrs. Thomas’s holiday. On P.R.’s signal they switched on their candles and began singing “Silent Night”.
Cindy watched as a shadow moved toward the upstairs window. Soon, the thin figure of the widow was silhouetted in the frame. Cindy held her candle closer to her face and gave a friendly wave. Mrs. Thomas did not wave back. She was too busy wiping the tears from her eyes.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Matthew 5:14 KJV
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