This is one of the lines to describe the narrator's Christmas in the movie, A Child's Christmas in Wales. (That would be the same movie we always watch on Thanksgiving night, after dinner is over.) I have always found it to sum up a big part of my own family's Christmas as well. Singing Christmas carols and listening to Christmas music is something we do a lot of during the Christmas season. We sing each Sunday of Advent after dinner, we sing on Christmas Eve before we tuck everyone into bed, and we try to invite friends over for an evening of singing as well.
This is what we did last night. The H-S family and P. family joined us and we ate cookies and drank eggnog and sang. We have done this for many years, our three families. We have all added children and all of us now have grown children. Some have moved away, some have gotten married, and there is even a quickly growing baby in the mix. I'm sure I'm not the only one of the six adults to find these moments a bit bittersweet. We sang many songs... and all the verses of them as well. We did have hymnals to share, but for the most part, except to jog our memories, they act as reminders since most of us, including our children, do know all the words. I accompany on the piano, with only a few instances of not changing keys between songs. It was a lovely evening.
Do you sing with your family? Believe me when I say, despite a long-held fantasy that we would be the next von Trapp family, we make up for in enthusiasm what we lack in quality. How you sound is really not the point, anyway. The main thing is the making of music; creating a joyful noise. So if quality was the problem, don't let that hold you back. Besides, since singing is a combination of breathing and muscles, it is a learned skill which only gets better with practice. If you never sing, of course you're not going to sound as you would wish.
Give your children the gift of music as well. We live in a culture that has music going nearly every waking minute, but it is passive listening. Few people actually make their own music anymore. Listening and enjoying music is great, but making your own, especially with others, is even better.
You don't have anyone to accompany you? Well, you can still sing together even without that added bonus. And, use this year to make that change. Learn an instrument. Yes, you, the adult. You can still do it. I'm always telling people that the single best reason to learn to play the piano is so that you can play Christmas carols for your family. You don't have a piano? Well, how about guitar? ...harp? ...cello? There are a host of instruments out there to choose from. Let your children learn an instrument. Yes, time can be an issue, but I think it's worth it. Sports can be great, but, dare I say it? There is more to life.
This Christmas, sing. Sing all the verses. Make a joyful noise and celebrate the birth of our savior.
Looking back, I find I tend towards being a broken record on certain subjects.
Sing with your children
Sing with your children, part 2