Saturday, June 23, 2012

Annotated List of Christmas Carols Children Can Sing in the Sanctuary

“Angels We Have Heard on High”
Even non-readers can be invited to sing all the long, drawn out, fun to sing Gloria’s in the chorus.

“Away in the Manger”
Older children consider this a baby song and are often embarrassed by being asked to sing it with other children in the sanctuary.  So have a young children’s choir sing it or invite worshipers of all ages to sing it together.

“Go Tell It on the Mountain”
The chorus feels like an Epiphany message, but the verses tell the story of the shepherds.   So, it can be sung on Christmas and again in Epiphany.

“Infant holy, Infant Lowly”
This less familiar carol has easy, concrete vocabulary.  It would be a good choice to explore in a children’s time, then sing with the whole congregation.

“O Come All Ye Faithful”
This carol is sung so often that we count on children learning it by osmosis, but it is not easy for children to grasp.  To help this process along, review, even practice, the just the chorus before singing the carol with the whole congregation.

“Once in Royal David’s City”
In many churches with children’s choir programs, it is the children’s job to sing the first verse of this carol to begin Christmas Eve worship.  The rest of the congregation sings the remaining verses.  Sometimes a whole choir sings, other times children are selected and consider this a great honor.  With its simple story of Jesus growing up, this is also a good opening hymn for worship on the Baptism of the Lord.

“The First Nowell”
This song is a good candidate for a children’s time in which the word “Nowell” and its other spelling “Noel” are defined as “good news!”  The verses can then be read asking “who is the good news for in this verse?”  (Answers: the shepherds, the wisemen and us.)  And, there is an easy repeated chorus that reinforces the word Nowell.)

“Silent Night”
For children (and even most adults) this carol is all about the feeling communicated in the music.  The ideas in the words are not all that significant to children.  They learn to sing the carol with adults they can tell both love the song and love singing it with them.  Just watch the adults smile and draw their children close to sing this song together.

“We Three Kings”
Once you get past the silly “We 3 kings of OrientAre (perceived as the name of one place) tried to smoke a rubber cigar…” older children enjoy working through the significance of the gift each king brought.  This is conversation can be a good children’s time for Epiphany.

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