Today in school, our focus was on a single hymn–“From Heaven Above to Earth I Come.” I love this Christmas hymn, mostly because I know the story of how Martin Luther wrote it for his children. I think it is amazingly cool that he had the ability to do that for his family, and even cooler that generations of believers have also gotten to benefit from his talents. Plus, you have to love any hymn that has 15 verses!
We started by reading the children’s storybook of the same name. Sadly, this book appears to be out of print, but it is a fantastic resource to have. There is a brief summary of why Martin Luther wrote the hymn, and how it was originally sung, on the front jacket flap, and then the words from Luke from where the hymn’s stanzas come. The rest of the book is only the words to the hymn, along with illustrations to accompany each verse.
After we had read through the whole book, we then listened to all 15 verses of the hymn. The whole thing is available in the Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth CD set. I have used this set many times in school, for Reformation, (“A Mighty Fortress” can be heard in both German and English), Advent, (the only recording we have of our favorite Advent hymn, “Savior of the Nations Come), Christmas, and liturgical hymns. This set, along with the Heirs of the Reformation CD set, are great resources to have at home if you’re interested in good Lutheran hymnody, and each comes with a booklet that has additional information on each hymn.
Our craft for the day, since we had heard so much about angels in the hymn, were paper plate angels. These proved to be a little trickier than I thought they would be, I guess because there were no flat surfaces to work with, so Turkey and Bunny needed a little help to get them done. Even so, they really liked making them, and were quick to give them names (Turkey named his St. Michael) and play with them. I like crafts that have some (limited) play value, instead of having everything just hang on the wall–the only problem with playing with them is that they also have limited durability!