Monday, December 23, 2013

Fourth Monday of Advent: Song

There come certain points in the day when it is very clear that Coffeedaughter is ready for a nap. It takes her a while longer to realize this for herself, and in those instances I have a few go-to tactics. The one that I use the most is walking around the house while rocking her and patting her back. It's not really a creative or unusual practice, but she likes the movement.

As it turns out, she seems to be a big music fan as well. Whether the radio in the car, or Spotify just before bedtime, music has a calming effect for her.

Oftentimes, when I'm rocking her during the day it comes at a moment's notice and I don't have the hands available to cue something up on the computer or stereo. So I sing instead.

The song selection varies. I most often go to Five Iron Frenzy and Counting Crows (the latter worked really well with Coffeeson back in the day), but hymns seem to work really well, too. And, of course, this time of year has brought some inspiration to sing Christmas carols.

What I think is most appropriate when trying to rock an upset 3-month-old to sleep are, I think, those carols that are meant to be sung at a lower volume to begin with. What makes this even more convenient is that several carols actually seem like lullabies, namely "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger." As a pastor, I refuse to have the congregation sing these songs during Advent (relax...I make up for it with others), but for the purposes of calming down an infant, they do just fine.

Now, let's be honest. These two carols in particular are a bit silly. They make bold, inaccurate claims about a baby that doesn't cry and that has an extra special divine glow about him. He's a human baby. That's a big part of the whole incarnation thing. The cynical hipster part of me scoffs at such lyrics. But when I sing these songs to a small child, who after a verse or two has calmed down and is even smiling up at me by this point, making those first exploratory language sorts of sounds, the innocence of the song connects with the fragile gentleness of the one I'm holding and it makes perfect sense.

I may return to that cynicism later on. But at least for a moment, those lyrics are true because I see the world's need for them.

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