Singing

There’s something about singing carols together at Christmastime.  Everyone knows the Christmas songs.  Everyone sings them aloud.  I sat with my grandmother the other day listening to Christmas music on the radio.  Her memory is sadly declining.  Her brain can’t remember what she was saying at the beginning of each sentence just four words earlier.  But she sang along to White Christmas.  She was able to remember some of the words, but when they left her, she hummed in perfect harmony with Bing Crosby.  I loved it!

I stood in a crowd of about 60 high schoolers and adults last night as we sang old familiar carols together.  The music was soft, and the instruments even dropped out all together at the end of a couple of the songs and we could all hear each other.  In moments like those I get choked up.

There’s something about singing that brings unity.

It’s not every day that you get to sing with a group of people.  The average person, with no particular talent, doesn’t sing together as a family.  I have a family of exceptional talent and we don’t sing together either.

I can remember one holiday in my life when my grandma asked her talented kids to sing together.  We all sat around the piano as their voices blended perfectly, as if they were made to be used that way.  I sat and listened and tried so hard not to cry.  But that kind of beauty always brings me to tears.  I think it runs in my family.

I’ll never forget the Christmas my cousin made up a song about Randall.  It was funny and irreverent and completely made up.  Sean got out his guitar and sang about a youth minister who accidentally dropped the f bomb.  And my grandma (the same one as above) had tears in her eyes.  “Why don’t you do this more often?” she asked him.  She wanted him to use his creativity and talent more often, not necessarily sing about cussing.  We laughed so hard about that.

Every once in a while, Randall will get out his guitar and sing with the boys.  They make up funny songs and the boys always want to play along.  We haven’t done that in a long time.

I wonder why we don’t sing more often, together.  It’s one of those awkward things to do outside of certain situations.  But I can’t think of a single moment when a spontaneous sing-a-long did not make me smile.

If you decide to incorporate more singing in your holiday season or not, enjoy the moments of song this month.  Sing in the car.  Go caroling!  Pay attention to the feeling of unity; being one of many as you sing in a congregation each weekend.

May God bless you with moments of unity, harmony, and song this Christmas season!

The Most Beautiful Sound

When I was in labor with Asher, I got an epidural and expected things to move smoothly and painlessly from there, just like it did with Isaac.  Unfortunately, it slowed the whole birthing process down, so they let the pain meds wear off.  I think Isaac was born with Coldplay in the background so the first thing he heard was Chris Martin singing and piano keys playing.  The first thing Asher heard when he was born was probably one loud yell from his mommy…

J2580x1932-12861

When Isaac was placed on my chest, he immediately started peeing in my face. The first thing I said when he was born was something along the lines of: “A little help here?!”  When Asher was placed on my chest, he let out a faint yet beautiful cry.  I remember my first words when he was born: “That’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.”

DSC05178

I loved my babies with an unconditional love from the moment I first saw their faces. From the moment I first heard their cries, there was not a sweeter sound on this planet.

Then they started telling me they loved me.  Asher would tell me he had a secret and then whisper in my ear, “I love you.”  He still does that often to me.  It’s my favorite secret.  Is there a better sound than hearing those three words?  Don’t get used to hearing those words.  Don’t shrug them off.  When someone tells you they love you, pay attention.  It is a beautiful moment… every time.

This Christmas season has been filled with music.  Asher’s teacher gave him the Michael Bublé Christmas CD and we’ve been listening to it and singing along for weeks now.  Asher sang Silent Night in his preschool performance and played the hand bells to We Wish You a Merry Christmas excellently. Isaac had a performance at school the week before Christmas.  He was proud of himself and I was so proud of him!

One of my favorite moments this Christmas season was taking Isaac caroling with me.  He video taped my 10th grade small group as we sang to a group of retired folks.  He got bored pretty quickly and wanted to go home.  But on the ride there, Isaac and I practiced our Christmas carols.  I gave him a song sheet that he can now read and we sang together songs that have been sung for a hundred years.

Asher has been singing Christmas carols around the house too.  He sings Gloria in Excelsis Deo beautifully and it often merges with Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Follow.”  I think all of the Glooo o o o o os turn into the “oh”s of Tomlin’s song in his head. Whenever the house gets quiet and no one is paying attention, Asher’s been singing Silent Night to the dog.  I’ve caught him on multiple occasions when he didn’t think I was listening.  When he noticed that I was listening, he got louder.

Isaac got to sit in church with us on Christmas Eve and standing next to him, hearing him sing in his distinct small voice (the only time he has ever had a small voice) just melted my heart.  I struggled not to drop everything and pick my big 6 1/2 year old boy up and hold him tight the whole service.

As time goes by and boys grow and favorites change, I think this favorite may stick for a while:

Hearing my boys sing praises to their God.  It’s not perfect, some of the words and notes are wrong, but the heart of it makes it the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.