Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Singing for Easter

Susie at lunch -- looks like I felt extra Easter-ish that day!
My kids can sing Christmas carols all the live long day, mainly because I love to sing and listen to them during the Christmas season.  Chip could barely talk at Christmas but that didn't keep him from singing Silent Night and Away in a Manger from dawn til dusk during Advent (and a good while after Christmas too!).  However, it is not habitual for to me to swing into Lent and Holy Week and Easter singing good Easter songs (until Resurrection Sunday of course!) unless I really focus on it and try.  There are so many beautiful hymns and Christ-centered songs that I want my kids to learn and they won't unless we teach them!  So let me share a few of our favorites.

For very little children, I like teaching simple songs and choruses with hand motions.  So we sing The Gospel Song by Sovereign Grace and Easter Friday by Emu Music (the link will take you to the CD J is for Jesus and you can listen to Easter Friday).  Both my children have learned these songs before they were two (and a funny note -- they both called the song Easter Friday, "Jesus", as in "I want sing Jesus").  The Donutman song "Shout Hosanna" is also a favorite!  I don't personally have a CD with that song, but YouTube has several videos you can play for your kids to dance to.  It won't take long to learn any of those songs, even if you just look them up online and play them from your computer.

A friend recommended Passion Hymns for a Kids Heard book and CD set to me, and I ordered it for my kids this year.  My friend's family listens to the CD and reads the devotionals from the book in the days leading up to Easter for family worship and she has kids spread across quite an age range.  I have heard her 4 year old singing hymns while she colors in my preschool class and was impressed how many songs she knew!  Kids are like sponges -- why not play hymns for them that they will be singing all their lives? 

A favorite CD in our house (or I should say our van) is Songs Jesus Said by the Gettys.  We have listened to "Christ Has Risen" on that CD on Easter morning for several years now -- it's a great song to get up and dance to in celebration that the Lord is risen!  I like quite a few of the other songs as well, even if they are not specifically Easter related because they are about the life of Christ.  The other day in the car, after listening to "Once Upon a Boat" 95 times in a row, Susie suddenly piped up "Mommy, I think this song is about the time Jesus fell asleep on the boat and then he woke up and made the storm stop!"  HAHA!  It was quite the "aha" moment!  If we want our children to have the Scriptures imprinted on their hearts, then it is wise to have them "sing the scriptures" as our worship minister Chip Stam used to say. 

Let me just add a quick word about Scripture memory.  Though reciting Bible verses together is not actually singing, you will be surprised how quickly even young children will learn to memorize Bible verses if you take time to teach them.  This year I decided to have my kids learn a couple verses from Isaiah 53 and I'm so glad I did!  As I mentioned earlier, Chip is still not a huge talker, but he does a fantastic job reciting with us!  I use hand motions with our verses just as I do with songs, which helps tremendously.  I have been writing the verse of the week (it's been more like half a verse) on a little chalkboard as a decoration in our house, and it helps to remind me to quote the passage with them.  We usually practice at lunchtime or any other time I think of it!  Of course they cannot quite grasp what they are saying, but the exposure to bigger vocabulary like that is great -- we have talked about the words griefs, sorrow, esteemed, smitten, stricken, afflicted, wounded and transgressions.  I do not expect them to totally understand, but I do hope they will one day and that those words and verses will make a precious impact on their hearts.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I"m loving your posts on Easter. You do know that what you're doing (espcially with the Scripture memory) is classical education? Drilling it into your kids brains well before they can understand it? I know you said you were planning on doing CC with Susie in a few years, but you are already doing it! It's always amazing to me how much children can memorize and absorb. Emma has been sitting in Sunday School with us and can about recite 12 books of the Bible just by listening to us reciting it. Doesn't matter that she has no idea what she's saying- when the the time comes that she understands, she will already know the information and will be able to apply it. Keep up the good work!