NORMAN — Our family of four arrived in Singapore as new missionaries in June 1968. Our baby girl arrived in October by husband’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. John W. Morris, who had arrived in December to spend Christmas with us.
The churches we worked with explained that the custom at that time was for the youth to board a rented bus on Christmas Eve and spend all of that night Christmas caroling. They asked if our home would welcome carolers. We certainly would.
The busload of young people and their sponsors arrived around 9 p.m., laughing and singing. As they came into our house, our American neighbor across the street came also to enjoy the local custom. Our two small boys and their grandparents were happy to welcome them, too. The group came in, sang a few carols, read the Christmas story from the Bible and had a prayer. Then they ate cookies, drank punch and used the bathroom facilities. They popped British “crackers” and left singing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” Everyone went to bed — but we kept our clothes on.
The next group came around midnight. I saw our neighbor peek out of her window at the carolers. Our parents peered around the door of their bedroom. The boys and the baby slept on. The carolers sang, read the Christmas story, had refreshments, used the facilities and left singing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas.”
The third group arrived around 3 a.m. They saw no neighbor, no Morris grandparents or children. My husband and I sleepily welcomed, listened to and fed them. They also left singing. We fell onto our bed and slept a while more, but still in our clothes.
The children, well rested, got up to open presents by 6 a.m.