Advent Songs: People, Look East and Hallelujah

advent-conceptIn our house we try to keep the quiet and reverent mood of Advent Time and avoid hectic mood that Christmas often turns into. Carrie from Parenting Passageway says it perfectly:  “There can be so much “busyness” around the holiday season, that I think it is easy to get very caught up and frantic rather than quietly anticipation and demonstrating our own peacefulness with a holding of truly what this season means unless we make plans for these small pockets of stillness.” In this post she shares a perfect quote from Rudolf Steiner about Christmas in our time: “What has become often a mere festival of gifts cannot be said to have the same meaning as what the Christmas festival meant to people for many centuries in the past.  Through the celebration of this festival the souls used to blossom forth with hope-filled joy, with hope-borne certainty, and with the awareness of belonging to a Spiritual Being, Who descended from Spiritual heights, and united Himself with the earth, so that every human soul of good may share in His powers.” 

Today I would like to share 2 songs that I love to sing during the Advent Time, songs that I feel perpetuate the peacefulness of the season. It’s not a song that you would EXPECT little ones to sing with you, but just singing AROUND your children is so very beneficial. Even if you THINK you don’t have a good singing voice, your children will be your biggest fans.

The actual practice of toning and improving your singing voice is also beneficial for the child. In this great (and long) article it states: “Teachers {or any caregiver/parent of the child} need to take the quality of their own singing voice seriously, not least because it radiates a sense of their well-being – or lack of well-being – to the children. Children also need to sense their teacher working on their own voice and how this is part of their self-development. In my experience, teachers working on their own voices find how it can be a source of regeneration and health in their lives.” To help in the development of your child’s larynx (see article) it’s great to provide a model of age-appropriate singing with a”forward, light and bright resonance” while reaching the higher pitches and bright open timbres that their voices easily lift up into. I know this sounds like a tall order to some who think they cannot sing. You CAN sing! You can all sing and with practice, you can ever learn to sing really well! AND to sing even better and really uncover your true voice, you can search for Werbeck singing courses in your area, like this one; or even join a local choir, like this one here in Portland!

The most important thing is to love singing, love the song and sing often with and near your children. Another point of view with less focus on your singing expertise: “Children don’t care what you are singing or that you have an “interesting” voice.  You can sing about driving them to daycare, about your day, or about the day your child was born.  Singing helps babies distinguish between a singing voice and a speaking voice, and it helps them to produce sounds in patterns and rhythms that match those of others.” Music is essential! Enjoy the song!

People Look East

(OR Click here for professional singers on Youtube)

1. People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.

Hallelujah

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Happy Advent Time!

Midnight Sun and Winter Stars: Verse and Song for Winter Solstice

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The Time of the Most Night Brings a Soul Full of Light.

WINTER SOLSTICE
Verse by Rudolf Steiner

Behold the Sun
at midnight.

Build with stones
On lifeless ground.

Find in decline,
In death’s night,
Creation’s new beginning,
Morning’s youthful night.

The heights reveal
The gods’ eternal word.

The depths guard
The peaceful treasure.

Living in darkness,
Create a Sun.
Weaving in matter,
Know Spirit’s delight.

Song: Loved The Stars

Though my soul may set in darkness,
It will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly
To be fearful if the night,
fearful of the night.

For more on this special day and other ways to celebrate, visit this fine post by Waldorf in The Home.

Easy Handmade Waldorf and RIE Toys

This Christmas season I have zero intention of stepping anywhere near the malls or shopping centers. This year I will be making toys for the little ones (AND for grown-ups too!). I am still in the idea gathering phase so I thought I would share my top 10 easy handmade toys.  They may seem silly or too simple, but if your gift recipient is under the age of 2, they won’t care. In fact, they will most likely play with the box or wrapping paper, so really, we hardy need stress about quality. :) If you enjoy this post, please check out my post  More Easy Handmade Waldorf and RIE Toys.

1. Stuff in a Plastic Bottle (Infant)

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2. Cut out Felt Shapes and Ribbon (1 1/2 – 3).

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3. Large Fuzzy Balls in an Egg Carton (1 1/2 – 3)

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4. Felt Balls (Infant and Up) Click Here for Video Demonstration

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5. Buckles sewn to a board (1 – 3)

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6. Puzzle Picture Glued to Popsicle Sticks (2 – 4)

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7. Cloth in Baby wipe container (6 months and Up)

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8. Nature Gifts (All Ages depending on size and object)

Please read this great post on the benefits of nature toys.

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9. Fabric or Felt Crown (1 1/2 and Up)

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10. Old Oatmeal Container with Hole in Lid (6 months – 2 years)

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IN Addition to these really easy gifts, here are some ideas I found that I will most likely NOT get to. :)

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Song: The Harvest in the Feilds

Here is a great song that I love to sing in the Autumn time. It’s not a song that you would expect little ones to sing with you, but just singing AROUND your children is so very beneficial. Even if you THINK you don’t have a good singing voice, your children will be your biggest fans.

The actual practice of toning and improving your singing voice is also beneficial for the child. In this great (and long) article it states: “Teachers {or any caregiver/parent of the child} need to take the quality of their own singing voice seriously, not least because it radiates a sense of their well-being – or lack of well-being – to the children. Children also need to sense their teacher working on their own voice and how this is part of their self-development. In my experience, teachers working on their own voices find how it can be a source of regeneration and health in their lives.” To help in the development of your child’s larynx (see article) it’s great to provide a model of age-appropriate singing with a”forward, light and bright resonance” while reaching the higher pitches and bright open timbres that their voices easily lift up into. I know this sounds like a tall order to some who think they cannot sing. You CAN sing! You can all sing and with practice, you can ever learn to sing really well! AND to sing even better and really uncover your true voice, you can search for Werbeck singing courses in your area, like this one; or even join a local choir, like this one here in Portland

The most important thing is to love singing, love the song and sing often with and near your children. Another point of view with less focus on your singing expertise: “Children don’t care what you are singing or that you have an “interesting” voice.  You can sing about driving them to daycare, about your day, or about the day your child was born.  Singing helps babies distinguish between a singing voice and a speaking voice, and it helps them to produce sounds in patterns and rhythms that match those of others.” Music is essential! Enjoy the song!

The Harvest in the Fields

(click here to listen)

The harvest in the fields and on the orchard hang low,

the haze is on the hills and all the earth is a glow.

On lakes streams and rivers the geese seem to know

that autumn is upon us, tomorrow they’ll go.