The Christmas carolling season is nearly at an end. Just a couple of days to go and that will see the back of it for another year.
There are many reasons why The Salvation Army conducts very active carolling programmes. Often there is a financial motive especially when churches run community outreach services. The picture above shows some of our Songsters singing in the John Lewis store at the Bluewater shopping centre (at the invitation of the store we must add). We are grateful to the store because, through it’s own generosity and that of it’s customers, £1300 was raised which will enable us to develop our premises to provide even greater services to our local community. Other fund raising carolling efforts have been made, particularly by the Band, which will also add to the funds available for these services.
Often our various music group will visit elderly residents accommodation or hospitals, including the local hospice, to bring a taste of Christmas to those within, including the staff. Sometimes it is possible to raise funds for other deserving charities such as the new Medway Foodbank, which we have supported this year or to assist other groups in celebrations of their own, such as the NHS with the carol service in the cathedral. Macmillan Cancer Support also received the proceeds of the annual concert the Band gave with the Rainham Ladies Choir.
But, whatever the practical purposes behind the carolling programme, good as they may be, carolling is an important way of getting the Christmas message to many hundreds, indeed thousands, of people who just don’t seem to know what it’s all about. Opportunities for personal contact abound and are accepted gratefully. These can be a great blessing to many who just happen along when the Band is playing in the High Street or other places where people gather in substantial numbers.
So we give thanks to the public for the generosity shown even in times of financial hardship but more than all we give tahnks to God for the opportunity to witness to our faith and the Christian message which this world needs so badly.
Have a very happy Christmas and do remember what it represents.