Directing our church’s Christmas program is one of the highlights of my Christmas season.
And one of my favorite parts of directing is taking the program on the road to our local nursing home.
Every year I give the kids the same talk.
“I don’t care if you mess up a song or forget a line. I just want you to smile and have fun. If you have fun on stage, your audience will enjoy it. And when we are done, I want each of you to go around the room, take the hand of each and every resident and say Merry Christmas.”
This year was no different.
My older kids knew the drill, but I had some younger kids who had never done a program. They looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted reindeer antlers. Touch old people? Weird.
After church, we had a potluck, put on costumes, packed up props and walked the kids the four blocks to the nursing home where the staff had the residents ready and waiting.
When we had finished presenting the program – which was adorable in it’s imperfections – I prompted the kids to start their “Merry Christmas’ing”.
As my older kids started the rounds, the younger followed.
Small hands, sticky from the potluck dinner, reached out and touched older hands – hands that had seen hard work, loved babies, clapped in joy, and wiped away tears.
Work worn hands that are now so smooth the skin is almost translucent.
I heard the sweet “Merry Twistmas” and saw young eyes full of imp and mischief looking into eyes that had seen much of life.
I saw the hand squeeze. The tentative smiles.
And it happened.
A connection was made.
And then another.
Those kids started to see beyond the wheelchairs and wrinkles and discovered real people.
Those residents looked into sweet young faces and remembered.
Both the young and the old were blessed.
And there was joy in my heart.