Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In praise of old, familiar Christmas hymns December 25, 2011

The doll representing the Christ Child during the Trinity Lutheran Sunday School program on December 17.

FOR THE FIRST TIME in as long as I can remember, I missed Christmas Eve worship services. We were traveling home from a family gathering in southwestern Minnesota.

So this morning, back in Faribault, my husband, eldest daughter, son and I attended Christmas Day services at Trinity Lutheran Church in Faribault.

While a morning worship service doesn’t hold quite the mood-setting anticipation of worshiping on Christmas Eve with candles glowing soft and white holiday lights sparkling bright in the fading daylight and kids restless with excitement, I appreciated the contentment of singing old, familiar hymns on Christmas morning.

From the opening “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful” to the recessional “Joy to the World,” and many songs in between, I was reminded of all those childhood Christmas Eve worship services at St. John’s Lutheran in Vesta.

Dad hurried to finish the milking early so we could get to church, to participate in the Sunday School program and sing the same old, familiar hymns we sang today: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

Although we didn’t sing “Silent Night, Holy Night” this morning, we listened to a teenage girl coo a sweet, lovely rendition. And we heard another teen strum “What Child Is This?” on his guitar.

It was a lovely service of praise, voices uplifted in the joyful comfort of aged hymns to celebrate Christ’s birth.

From my family to yours, we wish you a most blessed Christmas.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

2 Responses to “In praise of old, familiar Christmas hymns”

  1. I LOVE Christmas carols – and have not been able to put away my Christmas CDs. I was watching Martha Stewart around early December and they had a test – they’d sing the first line of a Christmas carol and people had to finish the next line. They were horrible at it and it was so sad! I knew every single one! 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The old familiar hymns remind me of “home” and simpler times and such good memories of church and family and tradition. Plus, there’s something incredibly comforting in singing these tunes which were sung by those who went before us.


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