Monday, December 21, 2015

When Children Sing Gloria

So many of our earliest childhood memories involve Christmas time. Every element of the holiday enchants them, the focus of attention on a child in a manger delights them. I remember enacting the Bethlehem story in Sunday school pageants, donning the cardboard angel wings and trying to sing like an angel.

The atmosphere was almost magical everywhere, the secrets and surprises, parties and plays, smells and sounds--and music running through it everywhere you went. Even in the car, a family tradition when I was tiny was singing carols from departure to destination. That's how I learned all the songs that celebrated the most joyous event known to the world.

I tried to keep that tradition alive for my own children. One Christmas we had a new family member, a traumatized toddler who would become our fifth child. He couldn't speak, but he loved to sing. Our first inkling that he would be okay was when we heard him joining in the "Glo-o-oria," of Angels We Have Heard on High. Whenever that song was sung or played, he would smile and burst out with it enthusiastically.

It's a very old song. As early as the second century, a church father declared that the "Gloria" be sung the night of the Nativity. The melody we sing now is probably from an old French melody. In England, it was tradition to have it sung at Westminster and some call it the Westminster carol. The joyous refrain of Gloria in excelsis echoes the heavenly host in our hearts.

Angels We Have Heard on High

1.
Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o'er the plain,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

2.
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be,
Which inspires your heav'nly song?
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

3.
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

4.
See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

All of us at living books library wish you a joyous Christmas celebrating the greatest story ever thought of, ever told, ever lived. We haven't taken a break in posting new podcasts this Advent season, and Friday will be no different. Tune in anytime after Friday morning for our Christmas podcast from A Delectable Education, a  special treat for you about Charlotte Mason and The Savior of the World.

For the joy of reading,

Liz

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