The children had a great time working on this project- there was lots of singing in the room as they looked at the Christmas songs. We let them choose their favorite Christmas or Advent song to use on their ornament- lots of requests for Away in a Manger and Go Tell it on the Mountain. They even thought about important words they would like to have showing.
Emphasis mine. This is exactly what I had in mind, and I could not be more thrilled to read this message.
They loved the project! I plan to tie on some ribbon and include a note to their parents telling where the music came from before sending them home on the first Wednesday in December.
It was a really happy, joyful project! It was such a sweet time with the kids that I wanted to email you right away today to thank you for the fun idea.
Thank you for the great suggestions and ideas!
What can I say, Nathan? Thank you so kindly. And check out the children’s handiwork:
The only downside is that I’m totally in the Christmas spirit and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet… ;-)
Like many Presbyterian churches, Tiny Church recently purchased a set of the new hymnal, Glory to God. (I love it.) Now, of course, we have stacks and stacks of blue (1990) hymnals we are no longer using.
We’ll keep a set of them, but we’re starting to talk about what to do with the extras. Are there fledgling church communities or nursing homes that could use them? Undoubtedly… though I suspect many of these organizations will be inundated with offers of old hymnals since there’s a lot of us suddenly trying to unload these things.
If and when we find a new home for the hymnals, there will be some random extras that are in such poor condition that they can’t be passed along. I myself have 2 or 3 hymnals floating around my house and study, and they are not fit to donate.
So… how about upcycling the copies that have lived a good life and are ready for some transformation? Old sheet music is beautiful and historic and a lovely material to work with. It’s good stewardship to give these old books new life.
Presenting: five easy Advent crafts using the blue hymnal!
I enjoy doing things with my hands, but I’m not skilled. So my suggestions are meant to be simple enough even for the craft-challenged. Got an Advent ministry event coming up? Sunday School lessons to plan? Potluck dinner in need of an activity? Here are my five best suggestions for EASY crafts with the blue hymnal… or any other sheet music or pretty paper. (Of course, I recommend you use hymns 1-60 for these crafts: Advent and Christmas.)
Stamped Music Ornaments
My girls and I are in the middle of making these right now and they are pretty and simple to make. The circles of music are so pretty, and the snatches of lyrics are festive. I got a set of Christmas-themed stamps and some burlap ribbon and we’re good to go. We’re putting sheet music on each side so there’s no “wrong” side.
Clear Globe Ornaments
This picture is done with a wedding invitation but it would be easy to create strips of hymns and coil them inside the ornaments. Add a decorative ribbon and you’re done. Here’s one set of plastic ornaments I found.
For this project and the one above, it would be nice to have a small tag explaining the source of the music… especially if these are gifts.
This is a craft and a contemplative activity rolled into one—great for a Quiet Day or prayer gathering. Take a favorite Advent/Christmas hymn (or maybe a non-favorite) and read through it for words or phrases you might string together to make a new poem. Circle those words and doodle the rest of the page as shown.
Oldie but goodie! Use strips of hymnal pages to make a garland for the tree or a Christmas “countdown” chain. I can report that vertical strips of the hymnal are a good length for stringing together.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for instructions. This is the most complicated of the five options here, but still not all that challenging.
I wrote this six years ago when I was pregnant with Margaret.
talk to me about the waiting…
mostly I crouch, head bowed, eyes closed
against the soft black, safe in liquid suspense.
but even in the nothing there are constant somethings:
a fluid symphony, simmering, rolling, rushing past;
a metronome beating out the time,
world without end—and a voice:
hushed murmur, burbling laugh,
distant yet irresistible.
and then, at certain times,
I am bathed in thirsty, throaty songs:
o come, o come,
prepare the way;
and these reverberations of hope
shake the cradle that holds me,
and I stretch the kinks out of kneeling legs,
raise my arms in praise,
then bow and wait, again,
for that time when we will sing
To the World!
(Prepare away, but a little "Away in the Manger" never hurt anybody either.)
I got a comment yesterday on a post I wrote a year ago defending Christmas carols in Advent. Wow! These posts really do hang around forever.
I looked at them again and mostly stand by what I wrote. Here is the whole string of posts:
First, I detected a genuine longing for Christmas, beyond some grabby-greedy-gimme kind of consumerist thing, and wondered if other people were feeling that too. (For what it’s worth, I don’t feel that same urgency for the Christmas message that I did last year at this time… you?)
Next, I unpacked some of the tensions between Advent and Christmas hymns and mounted a theological defense for singing Christmas carols in December.
Finally, I looked at some non-theological reasons for the same… some of them more substantive than others.
Actually, you guys argue—I have a book to finish.
And if you’d like a soundtrack for your discussion, may I recommend Peter Mayer’s Midwinter—beautiful Adventy stuff there, with a bit of Christmas thrown in. These are all original songs—no chestnuts roasting on an open fire here.
Indeed, his song “Where is the Light?” is a perfect example of an Adventish song that has a celebratory, upbeat tone—which is something I talk about in my second post.
Several years ago I wrote a series of poems inspired by verses of Christmas carols. Since I won’t be blogging this weekend, I’ve set these to post every so often instead. Merry Christmas! Season’s Greetings!
This one was inspired by “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and a VERY foggy day we had that year.
Still through the cloven skies they come With peaceful wings unfurled, And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world; Above its sad and lowly plains, They bend on hovering wing, And ever over its Babel sounds The blessed angels sing.
the heavenly music floats high, high enough
to catch sunlight,
its pure white patches—
distant through naked trees—
puffed and fat with trumpets,
or combed into pianissimo wisps.
and it came to pass
that the weary world reached up,
snagged the misty amens,
clutched them close
until puffs of angel song
pooled in the valleys of chill,
got tangled in gnarled branches
making the weary wonderful,
a suburb sublime.
you couldn’t see the fog all around you
but you knew you must be in it
because it rested like a lead apron, a comfort
as you gulped down each damp chord
thinking yes, this is what we begged for.