Spreading Joy

Remember how I said now having the grandchildren added the cute factor to our Christmas caroling? Yes, that is true, but I had not taken into consideration that my two sweet little nieces are finishing out colds, and it would not be a good thing to have them outside much even on an unseasonably warm night. Abby and Nathan joined us for about fifteen minutes, but that was all they wanted her out. Anna also had a cold, so she drove the van from place to place and stayed in the van. She was sad to miss out, but after having a bad sinus infection a few weeks ago, she needed to be careful.

Sunday afternoon, we girls and Mom had a sweet time in the kitchen. Anna added finishing touches to her shortbread, Mom made fudge, and then we compiled boxes. Anna had carefully planned how much to put in each box of the different things made. We ended up having enough goodies for thirty-four boxes. The boxes contained: shortbread cookies, double-chocolate chip cookies, Andes mint cookies, Thin Mints, and Buckeyes.

About 5:15, we were ready to begin. The van had been loaded, we were lightly bundled, and our hearts were anxious to share with others. Sunday nights prove to be an effective time to catch people at home. House after house we shared through music, smiles, and a red-striped box.

I love to watch our listeners. Some of them get teary-eyed; some simply beam; some say they look forward to us coming each year; some ask the family how we are doing (or they say we are looking great), which affords opportunities to share about the new babies on the way; some ask if we are going on a trip soon; one had a present ready and waiting at the door for when we came; another quickly put together a container of goodies she planned to give us when we arrived.

It is such a delight to bring joy to others. We love our neighbors, and this yearly tradition has been one small way of showing our love. The evening was a real blessing for us as well.

Yes, it was a beautiful time!



Anna added the finishing touches to the shortbread cookies.

Mom made fudge.

Anna was the master planner. Her boxes were arranged beautifully!

John (with Dad in the background) carrying out loaded boxes.


Dad and Mom

Joseph made it all sound good.

John and me

Christopher and Anna Marie (and Junior)


“My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed” (Psalms 71:23).

“And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:47).

15 thoughts on “Spreading Joy”

  1. Merry Christmas, Maxwells! Our family appreciates you so much.

    You all look great–so full of joy. What a blessing to spread the joy of Jesus to your neighbors!

  2. Your family is amazing. The box’s were nice. It always feels nice to be a blessing to others. I was able to decorate gift containers for 19 teachers at our church’s school this year. The caroling is very nice. The snacks looked delicious as well.
    Thanks for sharing your life with your blog readers.

  3. Sarah,

    I am making your poppy seed loaf from last year. Can you just double the recipe and do 6 small loaves at a time. I have a Bosch. I didn’t know if you could do that or had to keep it in the exact amount.

    Cindy Lee
    Yes, doubling should be fine!

  4. What’s a caroling party without having to bundle up? I’m glad it was still chilly! That’s a shame that Melanie and Bethany couldn’t come, and that Abby couldn’t stay long.

    Poor Anna! And she did a great job on those shortbread cookies and boxes too!

    Great pictures! Glad you included Christopher and Anna Marie and Baby Maxwell in it!

    Get well, Anna, Abby, and Bethany! This is one time in your life that it’s okay not to share (germs-I mean)!

    God bless! Rebecca K.

    Your neighbors were greatly ministered to! We can tell!

  5. Have a wonderful Christmas to all.

    When I was living at Manhattan I never see anyone caroling. Even here at NJ. No caroling or get together at NJ.


    First off, I hope Anna is feeling better. We have all had it here, so hopefully winter can now progress without further illness. I will certainly pray that it spares rest of your family.

    I love it that you guys have each other to do things with. I do not have a sister or a sister-in-law, and my brother lives in Dallas. I know ya’ll enjoy each other’s company and realize what a blessing it is.

    I hope ya’ll have a wonderful Christmas and the special time it is especially with little ones around. Love you all and blessing for the Christmas holiday and the new year.


  7. after picture of chris and his wife you put junior does this mean she having boy?
    Just a nickname, nothing more.

  8. Merry Christmas! We went caroling for the first time this year and it was wonderful! Next year we are going to bake and bring invitations for our church Christmas service ( we did this last minute but we will be prepared next year!). Love the pictures… Who is Junior??? Is there something you are not telling us! Lol…. The picture is dark so I don’t know if I am missing something….
    Junior is the nickname of Christopher and Anna Marie’s baby, until they can give it a real name.

  9. We chose 3 people from our church last night to carol to. They did not know we were coming. One couple was having their family Christmas and invited us in and even sang with us. Really I think we were the ones who were blessed just watching the faces of those we were caroling to. Blessings to your family for all you do for others.

  10. Just catching up with all your latest posts! 🙂 I love seeing your caroling pictures every year and your treat boxes this year look so pretty and Christmas-y and yummy!! We went caroling with our church last night after prayer meeting. I think this was our 4th year to do it and our church looks forward to it every year. When we first did it, I remember explaining it to the people and seeing the strangest look on their faces. They had never heard of such a thing. It took a few houses that first year to get them to really sing and not be shy, but now they LOVE it and we have so much fun and I know it is always a blessing to all the homes to which we are able to go
    Merry Christmas, Maxwell family!! 🙂

  11. Dear Maxwell Family,Thank you for the inspiration. We are missionaries in Brazil and took 10 boxes of gifts to our neighbors yesterday with a message of encouragment. We also made gingerbread house with a group of kids. Next year we plan to make a gingerville too!

  12. Just wanted to say that your annual Christmas caroling tradition inspired me to organized a caroling event with our church. Since most of our church members are spread out and live in rural areas, we caroled at a chosen small town neighborhood, passing out home-baked breads with a Christmas/gospel message and info about our church. The response was mixed. Some didn’t answer their doors. One said “we don’t celebrate Christmas”. A few others were surprised and delighted to have carolers. Hopefully the joy and message of Christ was planted among even a few whose hearts were prepared to hear.

    I’m wondering if you rang doorbells first, then started singing…or just started caroling and waited for a response.

    I want to continue the tradition with our church, but don’t want to be discouraged by the widespread skepticism and hesistancy of most people these days to open their doors to strangers.

    Thanks again for your example and inspiration! God bless,

    Lisa B.
    Amen Lisa, good for you. We have had some funny encounters through the years. Sometimes people who answer the door, don’t know what to do, (as our world in not excelling in civil graces these days), but we just smile and go on. However, since it is in our neighborhood and people know we have no agenda (IE come to our church, not a bad thing, but it causes the defenses to go up) other than sharing the joy of Christmas we are usually welcomed as friends. It also gets better through the years when going to the same homes as they become more comfortable and come to anticipate our visit.

    We wait until we see them starting to open the door to begin singing. Then we only sing one verse of a traditional carol and then “we wish you a merry Christmas.” People often don’t know what to do while someone is caroling so we found it good to make it fairly short. If it is an elderly person that is enjoying it and not too cold for them we might sing either a second carol or a second verse of a carol. Again, the goal is to be a blessing and not wear out our welcome.

    For some who we know don’t answer the door after dark we will phone them and let them know when we will be there.


  13. Thanks for the explanation! Hopefully, we will fine-tune our approach to caroling so as to be a blessing and not a threat.

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