Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 23rd (Sunday Serenade)

This post is technically for yesterday, but since I was out of the house all day visiting family, I didn’t have my computer, plus didn’t want to be rude and anti-social. I don’t see my parents and siblings much so I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. 🙂

So, Sunday Serenade. Well, today is the last Sunday of Advent. In church we sang a few Advent hymns during Holy Communion, and the other hymns were Christmas carols. The church looked so beautiful, all decked out for Christmas. It’s been decorated since the beginning of December, but being this close to Christmas Eve, my eyes see things through rose-colored glasses, if you will. Though I always try to see the beauty in the world, there are times when it is just that much more apparent.

Today’s music that I will share with you is not just one song — it’s an entire radio station. An internet radio station, to be exact. One that at this moment is playing sacred Christmas carols nonstop. Lutheran Public Radio is a wonderful station to have on any time of the year, but right now more folks may be willing to listen to it, it being Christmas and all.

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Twenty-five Days of Christmas: December 9th Sunday Serenade

It’s finally snowing!! At the time I posted yesterday, I didn’t realize we had snow coming today; now it’s been snowing since at least 6 am and it’s after noon. Soooooooo happy now!! Anyway.

This afternoon, my husband and I are going to be attending a German language Christmas service at another Lutheran church in the area. We went to this together three years ago, shortly after we began dating, but then circumstances arose the last two years that caused us to be unable to go. Two years ago, everything that day was cancelled because of a gigantic snowstorm, and last year, he was working and I didn’t want to go alone.

Today it’s finally beginning to feel like Christmas is just around the corner. Perhaps it’s the snow. Perhaps it’s the anticipation of the service this afternoon. Perhaps it’s simply the joyful message that I heard in church this morning: Christ was born as a babe for us and we no longer need fear eternal torment and separation from God because of our sins.

Here is a link to a Christmas carol entitled “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” for today’s Sunday Serenade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8rC-1MHFGo

Enjoy!

 

Twenty-five Days of Christmas: December 2nd Sunday Serenade

A blessed Advent season to all of you! Today is the first Sunday in Advent in the Church Year. Advent is such a beautiful season. The church is decorated for Christmas, there are extra services each week, and the Advent hymns are some of the most glorious in the hymnal. I honestly can’t imagine being a part of any other church than the confessional Lutheran church, because not much compares to Advent hymns on the organ, as far as music goes.

One of my favorite Advent hymns is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which has been sung by Christians (and non-Christians) for ages. It is haunting and beautiful. I was unable to find a recording on YouTube that contained all seven verses, nor a good one played on the organ, so I will instead post the video of Enya singing the song. Her voice is spectacular.

Here are the complete English lyrics:

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel
Translated: John Neal, 1818-66

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Hymn # 31 from Lutheran Worship
Author: French Processional
Tune: Veni Emmanuel
1st Published in: 1854

Sunday Serenade: The Battle Hymn of the Republic

I love when Veteran’s Day actually falls on a Sunday. There is something glorious about being in the presence of God and specifically remembering those who have fought to keep our country free so that we may be in the presence of God and worship Him freely. This morning, our church had a service of a kind that I have never experienced before. (They do this every year for Veteran’s Day, but we didn’t start attending there until last December.) The sanctuary was decorated with American flags, we recognized both those veterans who have fallen and those who are still with us, and we sang some of the patriotic hymns that I adore so much.

One of these hymns is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” penned by Julia Ward Howe in 1861. Below I have posted the complete lyrics to this gorgeous and emotional hymn, with the verses we sang this morning in bold.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

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Our country used to be a shining light in this world. I fear that this will no longer be the case for many, many reasons, one of them being our poor excuse for a President. I honestly mean no disrespect to the office of the Presidency, but when the man who is in the position does not respect it nor the country he is supposed to be leading, it is quite hard to respect him. Lord, give me strength.

I pray so hard for America. We don’t necessarily need to be the greatest nation in the world, but the freedom we have is precious and I would not like to see that lost. Not to mention the sad economic status that is going to put everyone in debt. Technically, we are all already in debt. The social issues are terrible, as well, because things like abortion, gay “marriage,” and “women’s rights,” are tearing our country apart. So few people value life and moral living anymore that those who still do get lost in the cries of “ME, ME, ME, IT’S MY BODY, IT’S NOT A CHILD,” etc, etc, etc.

So of course, now you know where I stand. I hope this does not keep you from reading my future posts, nor that you post hateful comments. If you do, I will probably delete the comments. Hate speech is not free speech; and that goes for everyone across the board.

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Finally, let me share with you a recording of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” from YouTube. It is instrumental, played on the King of Instruments, the mighty pipe organ. I hope you enjoy it. This has been Sunday Serenade.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

(Anybody want to help me understand why I can’t get a video to show up in my posts?!?!?! Maybe I should have stuck with Blogger. It was EASIER. Sigh.)

 

Sunday Serenade

My husband and I share a love of music, especially instrumental/orchestral. Between the two of us we own an extensive collection of musical recordings on everything from vinyl to 8-tracks to my iPod. We also have quite a collection of musical instruments, including a piano, an electric organ, about 6 guitars, my violin, and his two trombones…yeah, you get the idea. There are more than that. Oh, we even have a gorgeous antique accordion that was his grandfather’s; upon doing some meagre research on the internet, we discovered that it is probably worth a LOT.

Anyway, music is a big part of our lives. We both play a number of instruments, and we both can sing rather well. Being Lutheran Christians, we also belong to a church where the hymns and liturgy are played on a gigantic pipe organ — none of that modern worship music for us. There isn’t much that can surpass a pipe organ, honestly.

All that being said, I have decided to begin a series on this blog that I will call “Sunday Serenade” where I will share one or two pieces of music that are favorites of ours, or just simply incredible pieces of music. Many times they will be religious, but not always.

Today I want to share with you a piece that has always been near and dear to my heart. It is a piece that my dad and I both love, and when I was younger, if it ever came on the radio (we had a classical station back home — I miss it so…), we turned up the volume quite high. (Side note: I credit my dad especially for bringing me up with such a sincere love of true music. My mom, too, but my dad especially!) This piece is called “The Moldau” in short. It was composed by Bedrich Smetana; it is a symphonic poem, and I think it could be considered a love poem of sorts to his homeland. It’s kind of long, but I think if you give it a listen, you may just fall in love with it like I did.

You’ll just have to find the video HERE because WordPress is being dumb. Sorry.