A Musical Advent

December 18, 2011
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SONY DSC

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“Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.”

1 Chronicles 13:8 (NKJV)
Advent is to be a season filled with music.  Isn’t the making of music a natural extension of our praise for a newborn King?   I want my children to know the rich musical heritage of our church.  I strive to expose them to beautiful music and a have chance to make music themselves.
Each morning during Advent we gather around the piano to sing Christmas hymns (being Lutheran, we are obligated to sing the old hymns!) and read parts of the Christmas story.  We are learning about the meaning behind hymns like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Silent Night”.  This naturally brings  about discussions of great theologians and musicians – people such as Charles Wesley and George Friederic Handel.

Perhaps my favorite resource is Christmas Carols for a Child’s Heart.  This book tells the Christmas story through scripture, along with the stories behind hymns, and even includes a CD if you don’t play piano.   We gather, with Christmas tree lights reflecting in the piano, and admire the beautiful artwork and just SING.  I’ve been amazed at how much my children look forward to this time.

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                                                   Other ways we include Christmas music throughout our days:

Play beautiful Christmas music ALL THE TIME! … my favorites are Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and  of course we love all of the contemporary Christian artists and their Christmas music.

At night, when my children are laying in bed, I like to go to the piano and play Christmas music for them to end our day.   You could also choose a different recording of Christmas music each evening as a bedtime serenade.  This relaxes and focuses our whole house.

Wee Sing Christmas –   I’ve found these CD collections to be well done and catchy for kids.   Get a tambourine, jingle bells, rhythm sticks and maracas and let your children play to their heart’s content!

For older children, encourage them to sing in a choir, play carols on the piano, or even learn recorder.   Design a unit study about Bach or Handel.   There are so many possibilities!

I just love the words of Martin Luther:

“Music is a fair and glorious gift from God. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art than can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology, music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart.”

I hope you take the time to incorporate beautiful music into your lives this Advent… what a way to praise the birth of our Savior!

Mary is a former public school music educator turned homeschooling mom. She taught for ten years before “retiring” to stay at home and educate her own children. She runs a small piano studio out of her home and enjoys all things music, children’s literature, and technology. She is enjoying the chance to learn daily through her children’s eyes. She is the author of Homegrown Learners and also one of the Three Thinking Mothers

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