A few nights ago, we decided to go caroling. This is not a common practice at all in the Arab world, so for most of the homes we visited, it was the first time to experience caroling. We visited believers from various churches in the city. It started out a little iffy, with shabab (young men) in the street staring us down as if we were crazy. Because of the restrictions in the culture, we didn’t sing in the street, but waited to enter the building or the yard. There were a few humorous incidents at the first houses. At one house, we were accosted by some young boys in the street trying to sell tissue (a common, but rather annoying practice here). They were angered by us not wanting to buy any, so for the entirety of our singing, they were banging on the door of the building. Coincidentally, we had decided to sing drummer boy, which was appropriate, so the song went something like , “I played my drum for him…. BANG BANG BANG BANG!!””
At one house, we were interrupted mid-song with some joyous news that the wife of the house had just gone into labour and they were headed to the hospital that very moment. We congratulated them, and quickly got out of their hair. She gave birth to a healthy boy later that evening!
After that, we stopped at another house, where the church’s worship minister happened to be visiting. He was so excited about the caroling, that he decided to join us for the rest of the homes. He also offered to drive us from house to house. This was a huge blessing, because we hadn’t planned out our transportation, and it would have impossible for us to sing to all the homes we did without his vehicle (our neighbor also joined us and offered to drive us). It was exciting to see how God worked out this evening to bring joy to many people.
Despite the initial awkwardness and uncertainty, the reactions of the families were priceless and well worth the effort. We got to see adults beaming with childlike smiles of amazement and joy. It was so exciting to be reminded of the joy and expectancy of the season! The main song of the evening (the only one everyone knew in Arabic) goes, “The Messiah has been born, Hallelujah!” Let us rejoice because our messiah has come and delivered us!