Advent Season

Light in the Darkness

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Written before Christmas:

This year has been hard on me. We had so much happen all at once in the last few months that I felt like emotionally it’s just starting to catch up. We haven’t been to church in months despite my deep desires to attend. And of course, in 2 days it’s Christmas. I felt like the twice holiday Christian. It was a little disheartening for someone with a Masters in Theology from a seminary. Especially at Advent and Christmas.

So today, Sunday, I made it to church. Gratefully really. And today the advent candles is that of love. Now- there are several places my christian faith goes when discussing love “coming down” at Christmas. But the main message today was the light coming into the world. And I needed that image today.

Despite all the chaos, the dark, the bad: a child cane into the world to bring light and hope to broken people. Now I don’t get focused on what time of year (while making it winter in the Northern hemisphere does provide an excellent example for contrast) or historical specifics… but the idea of a child with the power of God in Him is something to celebrate.

So from the light, I got back to my favorite Christmas verse: Isaiah 9. Mostly because it is from the little light it all grows into greatness. And is this little child symbolized as a light that holds the glory and strength our world needs. Hope. Peace. Joy. Love. Light!

So I pray as the year closes, This message lasts longer than the dark winter season. For our world needs it much longer than one night of the year.

Christmas Thoughts 2018

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It’s Dec. 17th. 8 days until Christmas. Yesterday in our house we barely set up the tree. We hung the stockings just in time. And yet-Yesterday I watched my son hang his first ornament on that same tree he helped pick out and tonight he pointed to the dogs on those stockings. Yesterday we went to Disneyalnd– 8 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS! And yet, Austin got to silly dance to some big band and we all got photos in front of the snowy castle, the light up christmas twice and even Mickey Mouse!

Christmas came quick (and early but late) this year. So instead of taking millions of photos and getting sucked in, I decided that “making memories” is more important.

So as the season brings the year to a close, think about the things that matter. I know I don’t want to miss my son dancing and jumping to music, to giggling or getting excited about Mickey coming, or thinking starry-eyed thoughts while we smile for that tradtional photo in front of a glowing sparkly castle.

Here’s to making memories matter

Life Happens

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So here it is. January 2nd. I had planned and outlined this wonderful idea (at least I THOUGHT it was wonderful) where I would write and talk about traditional Christmas carols or holiday songs and then go through the 12 days of Christmas with the song and it’s history.

And then life happened.

On December 11th, I got in a car accident. Someone turning left out of a driveway didn’t see me and hit my husband’s car. I wasn’t seriously injured (only the strongest stiffness I ever felt) and my son not his seat were not in the car. But the accident still totaled my husband’s Impala. So we spent a week handling the claim, week getting a new car and then celebrating Christmas and New Years.

So yeah, life happened.

And while it made holidays with my family much sweeter…i am sad i didn’t get to explore holiday songs.

Caroling caroling

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While Christmas bells are ringing… I’m moving on from Santa to decorations. I know for me holidays get started when the tinsel is hung, the tree is lit and the lights trim the houses on the streets. And this song also is one of those simple songs I pictured singing around the piano

So #9 Deck The Halls

I found out that this is originally a Welsh carol meant more for New Years. I was reading the wiki and found some interesting comments, mainly this paragraph:

“Originally, carols were dances and not songs. The accompanying tune would have been used as a setting for any verses of appropriate metre. Singers would compete with each other, verse for verse—known as canu penillion dull y De (“singing verses in the southern style”). Consequently, tunes originally used to accompany carols became separated from the original dances, but were still referred to as “carols” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deck_the_Halls )

Set deck the halls is a good childish dance that despite its monotone characteristics, can be an enjoyable little too

What?!?! Agh!!!

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But I was a child, there were a few songs like kind of freaked me out. One of them was the song I picked for today! It is a song that coming downstairs on Christmas Eve finding Santa getting a kiss from your own mother. Now, I don’t know if this was a message about how daddy could dress up as Santa Claus or that Santa Claus is so attractive and so friendly that he draws in your own mother. Either way, it’s disturbing. Maybe this is why I didn’t like the song… And frankly some of the versions of it kind of creepy as well. But, here we are, today’s song:

I saw mommie kissing Santa Claus

So I looked up some research on this song… And it appears it was written by Jimmy Boyd when he was only 13. This explains the goofy discovery of the song and I think it truly is about maybe discovering that Santa Claus isn’t real. Or at least a big fat white bearded dude in a red suit. And I’m okay with that.

Ol’ school

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When I was learning how to play piano, I want to learn songs that others could enjoy. This included many Christmas songs. I wanted that image of people gathering around while he played a fun tune and singing along.

That’s what today’s song reminds me of. It was one of the first Dog’s I learned how to play because the key and Melody were very simple.

Jolly old Saint Nicholas

Since I do not hear this often…I’m going to enclose the song here. Maybe one of you will learn it and have new memories to share

Saint Nicholas

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Today is the feast of st. Nicholas…the inspiration for Santa Claus.  Saint Nicholas was known for giving gifts is not only the patron saints of kids but also of brewers!

So in honor of the red suite white bearded guy…today’s song is:

Santa Claus is coming to town

My favorite version of this song is Bruce Springsteen’s Rock ‘n’ roll version. It just gives you that upbeat feeling that you get when something exciting is about to happen. I absolutely love it. Also, the cartoon named after this song is in the same animation as “Rudolph the red nose reindeer”, a Christmas classic.

I wish I had more to say…as Saint Nicholas history is extremely interesting. But when you have a child, Blogs get short.

5 Golden…nope, not this time

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Not a song about the 12 days of Christmas. Not yet. Actually. I didn’t include that song because there will be a series of blogs for the 12 days of christmas. Anyways…

I decided to stick with my theme right now of traditional church hymns. Usually these are my favorite christmas songs because they have unique harmonies and can involve soloists or choirs singing amazing renditions.

#5 The First Noel

noel2bpm

Now if anyone has played those games where you try guessing obscure names of Christmas Carols–Noel is a symnomn for Christmas.

I always like this song because it starts with the shepherds in the fields. It’s just a different perspective then starting in the manager. It’s the gradual movement of angels announcing the birth to coming to the Child.

Advent comes like this…small, soft yet is a big deal.

Number 4–there’s never enough room

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So originally i set up before blogging what songs I would look into for the 25 days of Christmas music. For today I had written “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” A song that gets a lot of bad rap for being about men remembering Christ is there to protect them. But as I was searching for the photo image of the previous song–it got me thinking. I didnt have Handle’s “Messiah” which includes songs like the Hallelujah Chorus” and probably my favorite classical piece “For Unto Us a Child is Born.”

I don’t think i’m going to get into much — for it is a great work of music and people have written research papers on the music i’m sure of it.  However, I decided to do a simple search and found this: 5 Things you Didn’t know About Handel’s Messiah

It’s a great article. I originally thought this was mostly about Jesus’ birth and more of a christmas collection. But I now also remember always singing the song at Easter in our Methodist church which explains why I was always confused about the flaslh mobs of the piece in shoppings malls. Also– standing while the Hallelujah chorus may be questioned.

While I love posting images of the songs and interpretations of the msuic, I thought I would leave this one with a video. Trust me–you want to watch this one:

3/25 Christmas Songs

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Welcome to the First Sunday of Advent!–finally. This year, all of advent is in December. Typically the last sunday in november starts the new church calendar and the advent season, but 2017 decided it needed to be different one last time.

So in honor of advent starting– I decided to pick a song that most reminded me of the sunday’s first them: HOPE. Yep-thank you church sunday school but I remember how each advent sunday had a theme–from the songs to the bible verses and so on.

#3 – O Come O Come Emmanuel.

Advent is about preparing yourself for the birth of Christmas. Now-I dont want to get into a historical poli-religious argument about the time of year and how no snow would be on the ground and what not. I get that–honestly I do. But the song still can hold meaning even if it portrays a winter image. And a song can still bring emotional and a sense of waiting and wonderment while we wait for the Christ child.

The phrase ” o Come or Come Emmanuel” appears to also have literary significance and used to help those focus in on the coming Christmas season (see this site .) I thought how it is similar to Hebrew poetry and stressing phrases or parallels by repeating “O….”

The only thing I have to say about this one is I HATE when this one gets mondernized. It’s an old hymn. Probably the oldest Christmas hymn. And I think it should be solidfied as such. Adding electronics and pop star singing is just frusrtating. There’s a very where its just a simple female voice with a guitar. I like that. Or trans-siberian orchestra with no vocals and just guitar. It’s all good that way to me.

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Here’s the first verse. Enjoy yourselves!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
9th-Century Latin hymn

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.