On the blustery winter evening of December 14, residents of Brighton, Ont., were treated to young carolers offering Christmas blessings and a coffee mug full of treats.
A wagon with hay bales pulled by a large, four-wheel drive John Deere tractor transported the 25 high schoolers and half a dozen youth leaders who braved the cold weather.
The Christmas Carol wagon ride through the streets of this small town on the north shore of Lake Ontario has become a Christmas tradition for the youth group at Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. This year youth groups from neighboring churches in Trenton, Frankford, and Cobourg joined in the festive event.
“Our young people prepared for caroling last week by putting together 120 mugs, which they bought themselves,” said youth leader Linda Jeronimus. “Into each mug we put a package of hot chocolate mix, some chocolates and candy canes, and a note offering the neighbors Christmas blessings from Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. As the carolers pass through the neighborhood, young people knock on doors and offer a mug to the person who answers. We have been very well received. Occasionally we have someone who refuses the gift because they are Jehovah’s Witnesses who do not celebrate Christmas.”
Angela Hakkesteegt, daughter of a farming family at Fellowship Church, had the benefit of a heated cab as she drove the John Deere into residential neighborhoods for the hour-and-a-half event. The huge tractor with abundant clearance lights and slow-moving vehicle reflectors, pulling a wagonload of singing teenagers with legs dangling over the wagon edge, made a spectacular sight on the main roads connecting the church building with the residential streets. Motorists caught behind the wagon patiently followed the wagon at slow speed until it entered the first subdivision. The exuberant carolers ended the evening together back at the Brighton church building, where they shared stories over cups of hot chocolate and apple cider.