This Advent we are not just listening to Handel's Messiah, we are using the oratorio's Scriptures for our Advent readings along with Westminster Shorter Catechism questions and answers. After reading an aria's Scripture, then going over related catechism questions and answers, we listen to that aria together. We intend to go through the entire Messiah, not just the traditional Christmas passages.
A good storybook goes a long way to make centuries-old sacred music more meaningful to my kids. Reading Handel, Who Knew What He Wanted together did just that, teaching them about Handel and giving some context for understanding the glorious achievement that is Handel's Messiah.
This is a favorite book of all the kids and the accompanying audio recording by James Earl Jones captivated even Mr. Edwards. Here you see Toby reading and listening. A bit sentimental, but not pish-posh!
A Christmas Carol
It has been in my mind to read Dicken's A Christmas Carol this year, but it hadn't occurred to me to find a picture book of the story to whet everyone's appetite for listening to the real thing. Thanks to Tonya, who asked me if I knew of a good picture book version, for giving me the idea. We found several from our library, including this one illustrated by Brett Helquist and a comic strip version by Marcia Williams. (We've enjoyed other "classic comics" from Ms. Williams, including The Adventures of Robin Hood and Tales from Shakespeare.)
I've written about some of our Christmas traditions in the past. Check out the archives:
Edwards Christmas traditions, including how we handle Santa and some of our favorite holiday films.
St. Lucia Day posts. We are returning to Lindsborg this year for the St. Lucia festival and plan to make some gingersnaps in a nod to this saint's day.