Hymns of the 2020-21 School Year

One of my favorite things about the last school year was the hymn study we did using the Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns as the foundation. When I chose the hymns, I made sure to cover the major church seasons/festivals, picked some of my favorites as well as some of my students’ favorites, looked for some that were in The Illuminated Hymnal, and tried to make sure we had selections from a wide variety of times, places, and authors. Here’s a look a the full list, from the first week of school (I will always think of “Earth and All Stars” as the Lutheran dayschool Opening Service hymn!) to the last (which I definitely didn’t get through without crying!):

  • “Earth and All Stars”
  • “With the Lord Begin Your Task”
  • “Jesus Loves Me”
  • “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It”
  • “We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God”
  • “Listen, God is Calling”
  • “Christ, the Lord of Hosts Unshaken”
  • “What is this Bread?”
  • “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”
  • “Thy Strong Word”
  • “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
  • “For All the Saints”
  • “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”
  • “Now Thank We All Our God”
  • “Praise and Thanksgiving”
  • “Savior of the Nations, Come”
  • “Prepare the Royal Highway”
  • “Where Shepherds Lately Knelt”
  • “As with Gladness Men of Old”
  • “Abide with Me”
  • “‘Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here”
  • “Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory”
  • “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
  • “Alleluia, Song of Gladness”
  • “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”
  • “In Silent Pain the Eternal Son”
  • “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy”
  • “I Bind unto Myself Today”
  • “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle”
  • “Awake, My Heart with Gladness”
  • “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”
  • “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”
  • “Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven”
  • “Up through Endless Ranks of Angels”
  • “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise”
  • “Go, My Children, with My Blessing”

Ladybug has already requested that we do more hymn studies in addition to our regular religion studies next year…I’m looking forward to choosing more of our favorites!

Christmas Music

Every year, when I start listening to Christmas music in early November, (OK, fine, more like October), I always start with my Christmas with the Rat Pack CD. It’s my favorite. I love how retro it is, I love the voices of Frank, Dean, and Sammy, and I love the selection of songs on it.

But, the closer we get to Christmas Eve every year, the more I want to listen to sacred music. Not just hymns, but music sung by a beautiful choir in a cathedral…you know the type. I tire of the secular songs, much as I love them, I tire of contemporary Christian Christmas music, which sounds trite next to the old hymns, I tire of pop voices singing old favorites. I want something that sounds…holy. And ancient.¬†And¬†reverent.

In church on Sunday, our pastor was preaching about Advent, and how Advent is a time of not us preparing ourselves, but of us being prepared by God. And I came to the realization that perhaps this is what happens to me every Advent season–God using music to prepare my heart for Jesus’s coming. Maybe that’s why I want to listen to sacred Christmas so badly as the holy day itself nears.

Then again, it could also be that I’m simply reading too much into it, and that it’s just a phase I got through every year, but it’s something interesting to think about, to be sure!

My Favorite Things–CDs

A Relaxing Soak in the Tub–I picked this one up at Hallmark at least 10 years ago, and I still love it. A nice collection of classical music, perfect for falling asleep to.

Boys Night Out–The Rat Pack–I feel like I’m in a swanky nightclub whenever I listen to this (or at least what my imagination has created a swanky nightclub to be!)

This One’s From the Heart–James Darren (aka Vic Fontaine)–All I have to do is listen to this CD, and I’m instantly transported to my happy place.

A Splash of Pops–Boston Pops–Every year around the end of June, I have an uncontrollable urge to listen to this. It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without the Boston Pops!

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Soundtrack–I love the songs (even the corny test copies) that never made it to the movie. So much fun!

O Lord Open My Lips, And My Mouth Will Declare Your Praise, and With High Delight–St. Paul Lutheran Church Children’s Choir–Rumor has it that there is a fourth CD, Sing With All the Saints, but someone (*cough* Ryan *cough*) hasn’t gone down to the bookstore to check out the price for me!

Hymns for All Saints series–CPH–I love the groupings of music on these CDs, and I also love that I got at least one of them free from good ol’ Thrivent.

Road Trip–Not a music CD, but a compilation of old time radio shows dealing with travel. So, my secret is out–I love old time radio. I’m weird, I know it, and I’ve come to accept it. I blame my father, I really do. My favorites are Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, and the Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show. Oh, and My Favorite Husband, the precursor to television’s I Love Lucy. So mostly comedy. But I love all the selections on this set, and I got to listen to some shows I normally wouldn’t have otherwise.

The 60 Greatest Old Time Radio Christmas Shows: Selected by Andy Williams–I don’t technically own this on CD–I got the audio tapes (does anybody still listen to those?) on clearance. I love this set because: 1.) it’s Christmas; B.) it has a lot of my favorite shows; and, 3.) it has some shows I wouldn’t have normally listened to, and discovered that I actually enjoy (Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, anyone? “On you huskies!”)

The Best of Fibber McGee and Molly–More old time radio–the McGee’s are the first show I fell in love with, and still my number one favorite–there are days I wish I could live in Wistful Vista!

Back Home–Caedmon’s Call–This CD will always remind me of my first pregnancy, so how could it not be one of my favorites?

Sinatra Reprise: The Very Good Years–Frank Sinatra

Anything by Andrew Peterson (but Carried Along will always be my favorite!)–He’s my favorite Christian singer.

WOW 2006–I think this was the first in the WOW series, and in my estimation, it will always be the best.

Christmas with the Rat Pack–The Rat Pack–This is my most-listened to CD every year at Christmastime.

The Nutcracker/Symphony #4–Tchaikovsky–Ryan got me the complete recordings for Christmas one year, and I love them! If I’m really lucky, I can convince him they’re not technically Christmas music, and get my Christmas fix in July.

A Charlie Brown Christmas–Traditionally, this is the first Christmas CD we listen to every year. Possibly because I cheat with it sometime after we watch the Great Pumpkin in October–hey, it’s Charlie Brown music, not Christmas music! That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

The Christmas Song–Nat King Cole–This CD has no less than three different recordings of The Christmas Song, aka Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, and also a really cool Toys for Tots promo recording.

White Christmas–Bing Crosby–Classic. What more do I need to say?

Any Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs (especially Christmas–love the version of Stille Nacht at the end!)–I know they’re considered “New Age” or whatever, but I can’t find anything objectionable about their Christmas recordings.

The Christmas Trilogy–Trans-Siberian Orchestra–I admit, there are some things on this set I don’t really care for. But there are also some really awesome recordings–especially Christmas Canon.

Holiday Pops–Boston Pops–It wouldn’t seem like Christmas without hearing the Pops perform Sleigh Ride.

Huh, I have an awful lot of Christmas CDs on here. What can I say? I love Christmas music, and listen to it almost exclusively through November and December, and on into Epiphany. And the worst part is, I know there must be a least a CD or two that I’m leaving off this list!

Hoosiers Soundtrack–OK, I never actually actually owned this on CD, because it doesn’t exist, but I wore out the tape in high school, because it was my favorite thing to listen to when falling asleep.

Anything Veggie Tales–I know they’re children’s CDs, but I can’t help but love the dialogue in between tracks, and some of the songs are really funny! And the Junior’s Bedtimes Songs CD is really sweet. I can’t help but tear up at a few of the tracks (One in a Million gets me every time!).

Mad About You Soundtrack–I like this one so much, I’ve owned two copies of it, because my first one mysteriously disappeared!

The Very Best of Sheryl Crow–Can’t stand her politically, but this CD always makes me feel happy.