Month: December 2011

Messiah by Tammy Glaser

My Sunday school class has been studying the text and story behind hymns. Every week, we pick a hymn and dig up something to share the following Sunday. In December, we turned our attention to Christmas carols. Since I cannot go through advent without airing Handel’s Messiah, I suggested that sacred oratorio. Our teacher volunteered me to guide the class since I sounded so enthusiastic. I showed up the following week with copies of the text of all three parts for everyone to study. Before sharing the story behind the music, I asked, “How many of you have ever heard Handel’s Messiah?” Only one hand went up while everyone else shifted in their seats. My stomach dropped and silently wondered how the next half hour would go. First, I explained the background. Handel’s Messiah was born out of distressing circumstances. Charles Jennens, a wealthy English gentlemen, grieved the death of his brother Robert. The young student became deeply depressed after lengthy contact with deists. Deists believe that god is an impersonal creator of the universe …

I Am At My Most Contemplative at This Time of Year by Sandy Rusby Bell

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” Anna Quindlen This season always finds me contemplative. The long, dark evenings at the end of the year invite reflection. I find myself looking back even more than usual this year though. I will soon be graduating my oldest daughter. It seems only yesterday that my four year old fireball was telling me that we could not be done lessons until she saw the school bus drive by our home. But this fall we’ve been visiting universities. My part in educating her is almost done. I’ve learned so much on this journey we’ve shared and there are many things I would do differently if I could do it all over again. But there is one thing I would do exactly the same. I would still read to her every single day of her life. We have built a life around books. I started collecting children’s stories before my girl was even …