Or “Guys start carols too high”
Caroling, right? What a great idea! Everyone, let’s get together and we’ll tromp around the neighborhood singing familiar Christmas tunes. How Christmassy! How effortless!
The emperor has no clothes on.
Or, to be more precise, not nearly enough clothes on. I held this truth to be self-evident about ten minutes into last night’s evening of caroling, as the temperature plunged in a sick inverse relationship to our group’s starting key. At least there were a lot of us – the body heat of 30 people raised the ambient temperature a good two degrees. And thanks to the quick thinking the organizer, we had song sheets pinched between frozen fingers, so the second verse of Joy to the World escaped sounding like an unintentional Christmas mash-up.
I’ve noticed that there is a moment in events like this – that moment between “this is going to be the best!” and “Well, we’re in it now, so let’s soldier on,” where you realize that real life is not a Christmas calendar. It’s cold and unorganized and some things go on a little too long. Some people are a half-measure ahead of you. Sometimes your driver locks his keys in his car.
Times will not always be sentimental, or hilarious, or traditional, or perfect. There are long stretches of off-key ordinary connecting the post-card memories. And that’s fine. You have to give good memories some breathing room. They don’t perform well under pressure.
And actually, I had great time caroling with the youth group last night. We weren’t going to be mistaken for a GAP advertisement at any point of the evening, but there is a bonhomie that comes from freezing your collective keister off with a group of happy people. It was fun, it ended with a gift exchange, and I was treated to some of those flashes of brilliant humor that teenagers display during their great transformation.
And it was my last youth group at Chapel by the Sea, at least for bit.
So I guess it was sentimental and hilarious and traditional and perfect.
But seriously, somebody should have brought a pitch pipe.