When I was in 7th grade I remember the GA’s (Girls in Action and Acteens, both part of the Baptist Church) visited nursing homes throughout the year and at Christmas visited and sang Christmas carols.  I always felt so uncomfortable there but recognized that it had a positive effect on many of the residents.  Just two years ago when my Grammy was in a nursing home all those uncomfortable feelings would swell up each day when I walked through the doors.  The smells and atmosphere was just like it was back in 1971 even though it was decades later and in a different state.  Still, visits by groups like GA’s & family, of course, make a difference even if momentary.

The church we attended often provided a Christmas list for a family in need.  We purchased items, wrapped them, wrote the person’s name on them then the church collected these and distributed them.  I recall participating especially when it was for a specific family that I didn’t know.  However, one time I did know a member of the family we helped.  When I was in the 8th grade, a classmate’s home burned down on Christmas day.  She was not seriously injured however some of her family died.  I remember the tremendous sadness I felt and that both my church and school collected gifts for them.

Throughout my junior high and senior high years, I was a member of several singing ensembles.  One of these groups was called Reflections, which consisted of three men and three women (all older than me and in college or working).  We sang contemporary Christian songs and performed mostly around the state but sometimes nearby states.  One particular December, I think it was 1977, we were the entertainment at several church Christmas parties.  I really enjoyed doing those because we got to interact with the crowds and involve them in singing Christmas carols.  The atmosphere of a room where the focus is music and singing, of your liking, is uplifting & meaningful to both the giver and the receiver and that is, to me, the purpose of charitable/volunteer work.

In both photos, I'm the female singer on the far left.

I don’t have a photo of us at one of those parties but am sharing a photo of the group when we were singing at an outdoor revival and another of us with our pastor, his wife and one guy’s wife.

This is my submission for the Advent Calendar Christmas Memories 2009.