My first trip to a nursing home happened when I was about eight years old at Christmas time. Since I had been taking violin lessons for several months, my Mom thought it was high time I had a public performance, and besides she loved to go and visit the folks who were shut in there whenever she had a chance. On her visits, she would usually spend some time chatting with them, sing a few hymns, and then share a devotional message from scripture.  So when she asked me to grab my violin and come along on this day, I brushed up on “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Away in a Manger,” put my violin in the case, and hopped in the car. I understood that we were going to pay a visit and that I was going to provide some cheap entertainment for the folks at the nursing home down the road.

It was a bit intimidating to say the least for an energetic young farm boy to walk into a place with so many people sitting around and staring at me. I have to say as I remember it, however, they were extremely friendly and kind as they reached out to pat me on the head or shake my hand, but it was still quite intimidating. On this particular day many of them had gathered in a large room and were just sitting there waiting to hear what my Mom was going to share on this day. She said hi, and that I was going to share a couple songs on the violin with them. After I had nervously squeaked through “Twinkle, Twinkle” they clapped and smiled. Then it was time for me to play “Away in a Manger.” With my mom’s help they sang along as I played the familiar three verses. As I recall, the people sang beautifully and I was able to play through the song without too many mistakes. It made me feel great to bring so many smiles to the faces of the residents as they again clapped and smiled when we finished.

Then my Mom shared the Christmas story. These dear old people listened intently as she shared the glad tidings of great joy which shall be for all people that a Savior had been born who would one day provide redemption for all who believe.

Fast forward about 47 years and it brings us to last Wednesday night when a group from Harvest Hills did some Christmas caroling at the local nursing homes here in our town. We met some wonderful people who listened to us sing the familiar carols or quickly joined us in song. Many of them had tears in their eyes and told us how wonderful it was to have us stop by and sing with them. It was wonderful to share the message of Christmas in song as we sang out; “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king.” And of course the very familiar, “Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king” and the beautiful, “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.”

In Galatians 4:4, the apostle Paul writes this; When God’s chosen time had finally come, God sent forth his son born of a virgin that we might be adopted as children of God through faith in Him, the Messiah.

This, my friend, is the message of Christmas and I have found that it brings great encouragement and hope to people who have an open mind and heart for God’s message. The gospel is as simple as ABC. A- admit that you are a sinner who needs a Savior, B- believe that Jesus Christ is that Savior and C- confess all this with your mouth and your soul will be saved.  This is the message of Christmas plain and simple.

So, if you get a chance, share some Christmas Carols with those in your family or neighborhood and let the words settle in your heart.

Until next week, God bless and Merry Christmas!