The Last Carol


We wanted to sing his request, but no one seemed to know the words.

Rushing to scribble a message on the last Christmas card, I quickly licked the envelope and stuffed the cards into my bag. I arrived at church just in time to join the other young men and young women in a holiday service activity.

This particular Christmas season we had decided to go to a local nursing home to sing hymns and Christmas carols as we strolled up and down the halls. I had decided that I would also bring along Christmas cards to hand out and to visit with people as we sang. I was looking forward to that evening, mostly because I love to sing Christmas carols. And it was a lot better to sing indoors rather than outside in the bitter cold!

We gathered in the foyer and began with a few Christmas classics like “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Then we opened our hymnbooks and began to sing as we wandered up and down the halls. Our voices soared and filled the air with the beautiful spirit of Christmas. Each doorway was overflowing with smiling faces, “Merry Christmas” greetings, and even several hugs.

But there was one man in a wheelchair who followed our every move for two hours. When we were done singing, he motioned for me to come to him. I leaned down to hear his frail voice.

“Can you please sing ‘O Holy Night’?” he asked softly.

Looking into his warm and hopeful eyes, I knew that he felt the Spirit and that hearing this song would help him feel closer to the Savior.

“Sure,” I replied. “We would love to.”

This song was not in our hymnbook, and I did not know all of the words, but I was sure that with close to 75 people there, someone was bound to know the lyrics. But as I gathered everyone to sing this request, I could not find anyone who knew the lyrics.

Slightly discouraged, I stood there staring at that man in his chair, desperately wishing to sing his simple Christmas request. Then I heard a girl in our group begin the song. One by one we all began to sing. The words flowed from my mouth with such ease, it was as if I had written the song myself. Our voices created an angelic chorus and echoed through the lonely halls. I knew that Heavenly Father was using our group to bring His Spirit to this man and the others in the nursing home.

After the song, everyone in the group and in the foyer stood in silence for a few minutes with tears running down our faces, full of the spirit of Christmas. I looked in my hand and noticed that I had one Christmas card left. I knelt down by the man in his wheelchair and handed him the card. Before I could say anything, he flung his arms around my neck.

“Thank you,” he said. “Thank you so much.”

As we finished giving hugs and Christmas wishes, we decided to walk around the neighborhood to continue our caroling. We had all been messengers that night, sharing our feelings of the Savior and His love. We strolled through the cold night air singing hymns, warmed by our testimonies of the Savior, whose birth we celebrated.

Illustration by Richard Hull