By Lorie Ham
Christmas season is upon us again! While this one will be a bit different due to the pandemic, there are still many things we can enjoy on our own, and virtually together. This time of year, many enjoy listening to and singing Christmas carols, and while there may not be caroling in person this year, you can always carol via Zoom!
According to Wikipedia, the first known Christmas hymns can be traced to 4th-century Rome. The publication of Christmas music books in the 19th century helped to widen the popular appeal of carols. I think we all have our favorites!
“My favorite Christmas carol is ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’,” says Mennonite Insurance Services employee Stephanie Heier. “When we are sitting in church, and everyone is singing the parts, it has such a beautiful tone. And the words talk about Jesus bringing peace and reconciling sinners, that’s the whole gospel wrapped up. And it’s just beautiful.”
Board Chair Jim Brandt’s favorite is “Silent Night.” “That’s how Jesus came. No big fanfare–other than angels shaking up the shepherds. Just a quiet birth in some obscure location.”
Staff member Michelle Heinrichs loves almost all Christmas carols, but her all-time favorite would be “Mary Did You Know?” “It is a rather new Christmas song. It tells a story of Jesus’ mother Mary and the profound idea that she is carrying and giving birth to the future King of the World, the Christ child. As a mother of a son, who is special, but far from perfect, I can only imagine the idea of being Mother to Jesus Christ, the King.”
Michelle’s family doesn’t normally go out caroling, but she has Christmas music on much of December and finds herself singing along. “We will sing in whatever church settings we will be given the blessing to safely meet in. But, we will be grateful for our health this year and look forward to gatherings next year. Singing on Zoom is a scary endeavor in my experience for those on the receiving end of the music, with the exception of organized choirs.”
General Manager Jerry Linscheid’s favorite carol to sing is “Angels We Have Heard On High,” because the bass part of the refrain is fun, though they have not had much luck singing together over Zoom. “What I have seen done well is for a person (or several) to sing the different parts of a song and then merge the recordings together, so one person is singing multiple parts. That takes time and can’t be done on the fly. The best compromise our church has come up with for singing during a virtual worship service is for one person to sing the melody and the rest of us sing along muted.”
Board member and Phoenix pastor Al Whaley says “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” is NOT his favorite Christmas song. He prefers “What Child Is This?” “Because it focuses on Jesus and demonstrates God’s love for the world.”
Please share with us on our Facebook page what your favorite Christmas carol is, and how you will be enjoying it this year. Have a very Merry Christmas!