words easier. Consider singing the same
hymn every day during your family worship time until you are familiar with it. A
child will not understand all of the subtle
meanings in these hymns, but he can still
learn them by rote. You learn them, too.
You will be surprised how many times
the Lord will whisper words that you and
your children need from the storehouse of
Scripture and hymns that you’ve hidden
in your hearts. I still treasure the hymns
that I memorized while walking between
buildings during my college years.
Come, Ye Thankful People, Come is accessible for all ages. Actually written by an
Englishman, it is a standard for American
Thanksgiving services. Don’t neglect the
third and fourth verses which reference the
final harvest of the Church. Begin working
on the verses to this classic Thanksgiving
hymn early in November so you can sing
it around the Thanksgiving table before the
meal. Be sure to make copies of the words
for guests! Sing along here.
We Gather Together is another classic
Thanksgiving hymn suited for somewhat
older children, and a wonderful vocabulary study, too! Hear it in this Thanksgiving medley.
Now Thank We All Our God is often at-
tributed to J.S. Bach because he used it in
several of his cantatas for church choir.
However, the lyrics were actually writ-
ten in 1636 by Martin Rinkart, forty-nine
years before Bach’s birth. Rinkart arrived
to pastor a church in the walled city of
Eilenburg, Germany, just as the Thirty
Years War was beginning. Floods of refu-
gees passed through the city, and it was
overrun with soldiers from both sides.
The plague and other diseases were ram-
pant. During one time period, Rinkart
was the only clergyman able to serve;
he presided over as many as fifty funer-
als each day—four thousand in one year.
The text for this hymn is a testament to
his grasp of 1Thessalonians 5:18: “In ev-
erything give thanks: for this is the will
of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Johann Crüger set the lyrics to music
in 1647. Today we use the harmonization
by Felix Mendelssohn (1840) whose re-
search popularized Bach’s music (which
had fallen out of favor following Bach’s
death in 1750). After learning this hymn,
your family may enjoy hearing some dif-
ferent arrangements of this classic. This
exciting arrangement by John Rutter in-
cludes choir, trumpets, organ, and drum.
The lyrics are also displayed.
This arrangement mimics Bach’s with
lots of “filler” notes, as was common in
the Baroque period. An organ can copy
the sounds of many instruments. Note
that the organist uses the top manual
(keyboard) for the melody and has set
the stops (white knobs on the sides) to
get the sound he wants. Having several
manuals enables him to move from one
sound to another without resetting the
stops. See his foot work at 3: 36—notice
how he uses both his toes and heels to
make the bass line legato (smooth.) The
person posting it has graciously placed
the words of this chorale prelude on the
Continue your habit of learning new
hymns beyond the Thanksgiving season.
Play quiet hymns and Bible choruses to
greet the new day; they set the tone for
worship so much better than the blaring
of the TV. I like to collect recordings of
Christian music played on different instruments—hammered dulcimers, mandolins, fife & drum, and even the bagpipes. Hearing these reminds me of the
worldwide Church and the fellowship we
enjoy with believers near and far.
Ask God, the Father of music, to show
you how to bring music into your home.
Soon you and your family will be “
making a joyful noise.”
Marcia K. Washburn enjoys sharing her
love of music with people of all ages. Marcia has a master’s degree in music education and is the author of Beethoven Who?
Family Fun with Music, a unique music
appreciation course that uses the power of
the Internet for listening lessons. See www
. marciawashburn.com or contact her at
Ask God, the
Father of music, to
show you how to
bring music into
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