Wednesday, December 8, 2010

to hear the angels sing

one of the roles i cherish as a mother is the one of rescuer.   we
can't always help our little ones, but when we can, it just doesn't
get any better than than that . . .

"well, "  she said cheerily one afternoon to david, her eight year
old, and two of his friends, "what Christmas songs are you
learning this year?"

looking down at his feet, david answered sadly, "teacher says
we can't sing good enough.  she's only going to let the kids sing
who can carry a tune."

inwardly she broke in a mother's rage.  "so that's what she says,
does she?"

she drew in a deep breath, "well how'd you like to practice your
song with me?  what song is your class to sing?"

"it came upon the midnight clear!",  all three boys, speaking at
once.  she played and sang the first two lines, and they opened
their mouths and sang out lustily.

at the end of the phrase, david's mother stopped abruptly;  her
feelings about the teacher made a right-about turn.

she lifted her head and smiled.  "i tell you what, the way, really,
to learn a tune is just one note after another.  i'll play just the
two first notes on the piano--'it came'--."  full of good will, the
little boys sang with her.

she stopped.  breathed hard.  "i think we better take it one note
at a time."

during the weeks before Christmas, the mother invented games to
teach the boys to hear whether a note was higher or lower,  'up
hill and down hill.'  little by little the boys began to sing the same
notes that she played.

when all three boys sang, "the world in solemn stillness lay-- to
hear the angels sing . . ." with the rest of the class, the mother
enjoyed the soul satisfying pleasure of a sweet reward.

walking home on a cloudless, still night, david lifted his face
towards the stars.  "it's so still." he said in a hushed voice, a
voice she had never heard before.

"all those stars, they shine so bright.  but, they don't make a

then he looked into his mother's face, "do you remember in the
song, 'the world in solemn stillness lay'?"

the starlight showed his clear, honest, little boy eyes wide and
fixed on his mother's, and in them she saw a miracle --- of an
awakening soul.

he had not known that he had an inner sanctuary.  now he stood
in it, awe-struck at his first sight of beauty, and opened the door
to his mother.

"i thought i heard them singing--sort of," he whispered.

(adapted from "the night the stars sang" by dorothy canfield

merry Christmas,

"and suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the
heavenly host, praising God and saying, 'glory to God in the
highest and peace to men on whom His favor rests."
luke 2:14


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh how precious...especially after watching our four year old yesterday in his Christmas program...he had sung and sung at home, but once up on the stage...silence...he was watching for his each sibling came in (yes, late) he would wave..when they all got there then he turned to sing.
He too has been mentioning the stars and the North star.
How precious to share with them...and this story again tells the same.

My heart is warmed this morning as I stopped by it always is!
Have a great week...enjoy your daughter being home...have fun, I know you will!

Sandy said...

As Janette said, it is precious.
I love the innocence and wide eyed
wonder of children. They make the
Christmas season all the more
I enjoyed this, Lea. Thank you.

JMW said...

this about brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for posting this. My children will have their respective Christmas programs in the coming days and I'll keep this story in my mind. :)

Farm Girl said...

I loved the story and are you sure you didn't write it yourself? I could see you teaching someone to sing just like that Mom did. No wonder you liked it. I also love stories written by Dorthy Canfield. Some of my favorite Christmas stories were written by her, Though I have never read this one. Thank you so much for sharing it with us today.

Vee said...

Very near and dear to my heart...there's nothing more exciting than seeing "an awakening soul." Well, perhaps see what he saw. Thank you!

(You've been absent, my dear, and so I think the halls have been decked, presents purchased, and songs sung.)

Blondie's Journal said...

Just beautiful. It put a lump in my throat!


Cheri Bunch said...

Oh, Lea, that story is absolutely wonderful! Could picture myself with my boys. Made me smile really big.

Thank you for sharing and warming my heart today!


patricia said...

love this story---one of my boys could have used a mom like her to teach him how to sing in tune. is it too late???
job 38:7 "while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" so, do stars sing and angels talk----luke 2:13 "heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying"
interesting to ponder.
i miss our children's programs--those were such fun times--my fav memory is one of my little angels fighting with another angel over the microphone DURING the production.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Thank you for another beautiful reminder of the wonder of Christmas. We're getting together with some of our family this weekend.

Vickie said...

This is so sweet, Lea, as was the last post. It's all about the kiddos, isn't it. I could feel the hackles raise up on my neck when you talked about the teacher not letting these babies sing. No song was ever more beautiful and no notes more sweet than the ones coming from our innocents as they praise in childlike faith their Lord. Shame on that teacher!

myletterstoemily said...

kim, are you trying to get me thrown
into jail for plagiarism?

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I am laughing too hard at your comments on my are just toooooo creative with your thoughts!!! I am sure your kids have the same gift of humor and joy! I can just see me laughing with you until my cheeks hurt.
Sorry you couldn't join us at the kids would have probably laughed at you also...if you got as excited as I did over the parade. Boy could we have embarrassed them all!

Aren't we going to be fun grandmothers?

Have a great week!!!

myletterstoemily said...


i'm thinking luci (you) and ethyl (me)

Anonymous said...

You lost me in your comment!! What do you mean through the blog looking glass?!

Sonja said...

so precious Lea! I have to agree with Kim... it sounds just like the way you might have done it with your own.

There is nothing like Christmas through the eyes of a child... the wonder, the joy, all of it.

are you sure this wasn't you?? :)

Gloria said...

Precious story!
What a joy it is to hear children sing. I am sure our dear Lord is filled with pleasure at the sound of their voices...:)

xoxo Gloria

EG Wow said...

And merry Christmas to you too!

The Stylish House said...

"one of the roles i cherish as a mother is the one of rescuer" This line hit me squarely between the eyes tonight.
I'm finally getting around to trimming the tree. My daughter was fixing the bows and passing them to me. It brought tears to my eyes to know I can share many more Christmas trees with her.

Anita said...

Oh that is the sweetest story! My 4-year-old started giggling last Sunday night, which quickly caught on with the rest of the congregation, and that's what we will remember when he;s a big guy! Lea, you are a blessing:-)

Patrina's Pencil said...

Oh I love this!!! I've never heard it before.

Early on in the story - it reminded me of my music teacher in 2nd grade who told me ..."if you have to sing that low - don't sing at all. No one sings that low"

I have a low voice. I can almost sing bass except for the last note. This music teacher cursed my voice for 50 some years. Even though the Lord has erased the pain of her tongue lashing... I still struggle to sing in a group.

This story's ending finds me wishing it were mine. What a difference this mother made - in the lives of these 3 little boys. She gave them the gift of song.

Zep 3:17 "For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song."

Merry Christmas, Lea
patrina <")>><
warrior bride in boots

koralee said...

So lovely my sweet friend...made me a little teary eyed.
Hugs. xoxoxo

Susan B said...

What a touching story...made me cry. I truly enjoyed it...thank you for sharing. :)

Nora Johnson said...

A wonderful story!

Thanks for stopping by & have a great weekend,

XOXO Lola:)

Town and Country Mom said...

Thanks for helping me hear them sing this morning! xo

Lisa said...

What a sweet post, Lea!

Together We Save said...

Oh my goodness.... that was beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing this piece of Christmas joy!

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Thanks for visiting me over at Eternity Cafe. Yes, Cheri is a sweet sweet friend.

I love this story. Someone seriously told me I ought to sing tenor - ten or twenty feet away. This was told to me by an adult -in church! As a child, I was told by the music teacher to lipsync!

Now I'm married to a musician, a worship leader, who tells everyone that once the kids got older and away from me (so to speak), we discovered that they can actually sing. We never thought so when they were young! They ended up getting lead roles in their high school musicals!!

I'm so glad the Bible says "Make a joyful noise". It doesn't say "sing on key!" My noise may not be joyful to anyone but me and the Lord, but I will sing to Him anyway! I've been singing along with the Christmas carols as they stream over the speakers in stores!

Blessings to you,

~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Wonderful wonderful sweet Lea.
I wish you a beautiful Advent season! xxxx

Sandra said...

For years, I've headed to the barn at midnight on Christmas Eve to hear the animals tell the Old, Old Story. They never disappoint me either.

Sassy Granny ... said...


Peridots Garden Blog said...

Beautiful !

Thank you for sharing...the words brought tears to my eyes and comfort to my heart!


Mystica said...

A very heart warming post.

I am having my first giveaway on my blog - a gift card sponsored by CSN Stores. please do come over and enter

Lana said...

I love that story Lea, especially the wonderful moment when her child spoke of the stars. :)

My name is PJ. said...

This was soooooooo wonderful, Lea! "The world in solemn stillness lay"...indeed!!

H said...

I love that carol. It resonates with me.

His Song to Sing said...

Thanks so much for sharing that precious story. I can just see the wonder on that child's face when he connected with the song and the stars.

Hope your holidays are merry and bright with the light of His love!


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