Lessons from the Carols

Yesterday was apparently National Go Caroling Day, according to my newspaper. We didn't get the opportunity to take part, but I got to thinking about how much music plays a role in our Christmas celebrations. What's a Christmas Eve service without some rendition of Silent Night? And does the Christmas season really get under way until you've sung "Joy to the World?"

We go to a very contemporary church, which doesn't include many traditional Christmas carols in its worship lineup. I find that I miss them and that my kids are growing up not knowing them. So, I make it a point every year to make sure my girls hear the beautiful carols of old.

Christmas carols are also a great springboard for conversation with your kids about the true meaning of the season. When you sing or listen to "Joy to the World," you can discuss the reasons we have to be joyful. You can talk about why Jesus coming to earth was a cause for Joy.

"Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" offers great opportunities to talk about the shepherds. Talk with your kids about why they think the angels appeared to the lowly shepherds instead of to the important people of the day. Talk about the shepherds' response to what the angels had to say.

For a more contemporary song, "Mary, Did You Know?" presents you with a great starting point for a conversation about Mary. You could talk about how you think she might have felt about all that had happened to her. Talk about her response to the shepherds and the wise men who came to worship her new baby boy.

Whatever the tune, don't pass up an opportunity to bring the nativity story into your conversation with your kids. And, next year, be on the lookout for National Go Caroling Day.