As I mentioned in a previous post, this year’s children’s Christmas service was based on the hymn, "O Jesus Christ, Your Manger Is". The service took place last Sunday, the day before Christmas Eve. One of the highlights from that service was the singing of that hymn, with the first stanza sung by the kids (K–8). Another highlight would be the preschoolers singing "While by the Sheep". I had been going into the preschool room for the last couple weeks to help the 3- and 4-year-olds learn that one. It was so much fun to do that and to get to know those kids a little better.
But I would have to say the highlight of that service for me was another of the songs. It was a setting of the Magnificat (by James Chepponis). The kids and the congregation sang the refrains, and the verses were sung by a group young women from our congregation, mostly high school-aged. The six of them sang the verses in two parts. They prepared it with minimal rehearsal time in the past couple weeks. All of these girls are ones I have had in our junior choir (which we don’t have this year because there aren’t enough voices). But I have always been so impressed not only by their lovely voices, but by their willingness to sing and try different things. I only hope that these girls will continue to use and develop their talent. That can be really tricky for a high school student if their school doesn’t offer, or they aren’t directly involved in another music program at school.
The Magnificat itself is something that continues to grow on me. One thing that impresses me is how much this New Testament song reflects the language of the Old Testament psalms. It shows, I think, the familiarity that pious Jews had with the psalms and how connect the whole Bible really is.