Good Christmas morning, friends! It's a day for celebration! My choice for this grand occasion is one for the Bride of Christ. O Come, All Ye Faithful is thought by many to date back to the early 1600s, written by the Portuguese king, John IV. It is a call to the Church to rejoice in … Continue reading (Day 24) O Come All Ye Faithful
This is the Christ is a song originally written by Martin Luther, and I've chosen a version by Sandra McCracken. I stumbled onto this song while compiling my playlist, and fell in love with it. We've spent nearly a month reflecting on the birth of Jesus, and tomorrow is Christmas. Remember on Day 1 when … Continue reading (Day 23) This is the Christ
The Magnificat refers to Mary's song of praise upon seeing her cousin, Elizabeth, and in response to her visit from the angel Gabriel and her conception of Jesus. There have been many written and sung throughout church history; this recent one was written by the Gettys and Stuart Townend. Boy, did Mary ever know what … Continue reading (Day 22) Magnificat
Hark the Herald Angels Sing is another Charles Wesley hymn, written in 1739. This song is really quite amazing - Wesley was a master of well-crafted lyrics. Perhaps for this advent series, I should have just quoted the full lyrics of this carol in one post and said, "This is Christmas; behold your Savior," and … Continue reading (Day 21) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence is an ancient song that was sung very early on in the church, perhaps as far back as the 3rd century. The first line of this song comes from the book of Habakkuk. In a mirrored pairing with yesterday's emphasis of Christ's simple humility in the incarnation, today we … Continue reading (Day 20) Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
Away in a Manger comes from the late 19th century, and though it remains one of America's favorite carols, the fact of its authorship is murky and disputed. Christmas is a wonderful mix of holy and humble. A young unwed mother gave birth to the long-awaited Messiah. The angels appeared in bright and fearsome array … Continue reading (Day 19) Away in a Manger
George Frideric Handel wrote his grand oratorio, Messiah, in 1741. The entire piece offers a sweeping narrative of the redemptive story, from Old Testament prophecy to Christ's birth, death, resurrection, and ascension. At Christmas, we often only hear the snippet from part one, scene three, For Unto Us a Child is Born. I do love … Continue reading (Day 18) For Unto Us a Child is Born
The Friendly Beasts is a quaint little carol from 12th century France. It has the sweet, repetitive tone of a children's storybook. We're not told in Scripture if any animals were present at Jesus' birth, so this is obviously a whimsical imagining of what might have happened. But we do know that animals (especially donkeys) … Continue reading (Day 17) The Friendly Beasts
O Little Town of Bethlehem was written by the American Phillips Brooks in 1868, and is still much loved today. We must consider the perfect timing of the birth of Jesus. During Roman occupation, a census was ordered. Of course Joseph and Mary would need to return to their ancestral home: the city of David. … Continue reading (Day 16) O Little Town of Bethlehem
Go Tell it on the Mountain is an African American Spiritual with a rich history, if you're inclined to google it. The good news of Christmas has no effect if we refuse to announce it. Jesus is a light in the darkness for us. He is God's image revealed. He is the fullness of grace … Continue reading (Day 15) Go Tell it on the Mountain
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus was written in 1744 by Charles Wesley, and was one of Charles Spurgeon's favorite Christmas hymns. Wesley had Haggai 2 in mind when writing this song, which I've quoted below. We've talked about the yearning of God's people for the birth of the Messiah. At long last the eternal, all-sufficient … Continue reading (Day 14) Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming is a German hymn dating back to at least before the 17th century. This song tells of a Messiah that fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. We know there was a tremendous buildup to the incarnation, as God continually promises a Savior from the line of David in Scripture. From Abraham … Continue reading (Day 13) Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
The First Noel is an old Cornish hymn from the early 19th century. Having covered the shepherds a fair amount already, let's turn our attention to an astronomical phenomenon in the Christmas story. From the account in Matthew, we know that a great star, visible from a faraway eastern land, rose and beckoned to those … Continue reading (Day 12) The First Noel
Joy to the World was written by Isaac Watts in 1719, and is now one of our most popular modern carols. It's so wonderful that many of these songs continue to be loved for hundreds of years. How could we not sing Joy to the World at Christmas? And I hope we keep singing it … Continue reading (Day 11) Joy to the World
O Come, O Come Emmanuel has a long and mysterious history. It was first translated into English in 1851 by John Mason Neale, and other writers have added verses through the years. It is a song of yearning. Throughout the Old Testament God's prophets predict, the stories foreshadow, and his people wait. What are they … Continue reading (Day 10) O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Once in Royal David's City was a poem written in the 1840's by Cecil Frances Alexander, who also wrote the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. She must have been quite a lady, judging by her hymns. This is the kind of song that delights a child, yet hits a rich theological note. Again we … Continue reading (Day 9) Once in Royal David’s City
Good Christian Men Rejoice is a tune that gets its roots from the Middle Ages, and is intended to warm our hearts during the Christmas season. We are to celebrate the Messiah's birth with our whole being - and this bubbles out into song. It's one reason why we hear this kind of music everywhere … Continue reading (Day 8 ) Good Christian Men Rejoice
What Child is This is another English carol, written in 1856 by William Chatterton Dix. I find some of the most profound words in the song to be, "Good Christians, fear, for sinners here; the silent Word is pleading." I wondered what that meant, until I remembered that in some versions this is directly followed … Continue reading (Day 7) What Child is This?
Silent Night comes to us from early 19th century Austria. It is impossible for me to stay dry-eyed if this is sung on Christmas Eve. I know a little about what its like to give birth in a time of upheaval, and in an unfamiliar place. CoCo was born in Ireland just a few short … Continue reading (Day 6) Silent Night
Today's song is another loose translation of an old French carol: Angels We Have Heard High. There is a sweet simplicity to this little song. I have really happy memories of belting out the Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria chorus as a kid at the Christmas Eve church service. Though simple, it's message is still profound. Once again we … Continue reading (Day 5) Angels We Have Heard on High
Our great American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote the poem that was later put to music and became I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. I've been thinking lately about the temptation to despair that we can all sometimes be faced with during Christmas. Longfellow certainly felt it, as this song attests. The death of … Continue reading (Day 4) I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
I have always loved God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. This fortifying hymn is an old English carol dating back to at least the 16th century. If it seems to beg you to jump up and dance a little jig, that's because it was indeed meant to cheer and bolster the listener with the good news … Continue reading (Day 3) God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
The French carol O Holy Night dates from the mid-1800's. Though the original poem is fantastic (go research it if you're interested), our modern version is also a truly beautiful song. Let me just say that long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth is … Continue reading (Day 2) O Holy Night
Advent has arrived! The first song on my list has been my favorite Christmas song for several years now. Based on a poem written in 1872 by Christina Rosetti, In the Bleak Midwinter is a beautiful way for us to begin pondering the incarnation of Christ. Rosetti's poetry captures the seeming incongruity of the God … Continue reading (Day 1) In the Bleak Midwinter
I am nuts for all things Christmas. Along about mid-October, I start subtly suggesting to my family that we should be playing Christmas music once in a while. To which, I get outraged Whaaaaat?!!!s and eye rolls from every quarter. But you know what? Christmas simply makes me happy. We are talking about celebrating the … Continue reading From Me to You: Advent Devotional and Playlist
Ah, August, you old devil! Month of 105 degree days, smoky skies, and ebay deliveries. When the 4th cup of coffee makes its reappearance, and the but whyyyyyy's sound from the bowels of the house when kids are summoned to (gasp! swoon!) do lessons. Ticonderogas, 50¢ spiral notebooks, an eclectic bin of science experiment supplies … Continue reading Super Rad Homeschool Picks 2018/19
Sibling relationships are complex.
If you were watching from the house, you would hear a muted shriek from inside the car, see us stop, back up to the house, and let one kid out to go to the bathroom.
My older brother is a farmer by trade, and has called to cajole a favor out of me.
Make an appointment? Nah. It'll be fine.
We have discovered an amazing secret to fixing just about anything
I see now that I was given something far more valuable than I realized on my wedding day.
The addition of a ukulele in our home coincided with my decision to start a hymn study with the children. Pure coincidence, really!
There is a super nerdy fad gaining traction out there called The Bullet Journal. And of course, I can only resist a nerdy fad for so long.