The Gate of the Year

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It’s a tradition here on New Year’s Eve to run a graphic featuring an excerpt from the lovely poem God Knows – commonly known as The Gate of the Year – written in the early part of the 20th century. (This year’s photo was made at the Morton Arboretum in Chicago earlier this month.) I thought you might enjoy … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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Christmas is nearly here!! We’d all be rich if we had a nickel for every person who’s covered today’s song: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Even though it was written fairly recently (1944), it’s one of the most-performed Christmas songs. Judy Garland was the first to sing it, in the movie Meet Me in St. … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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I was ten years old when I first saw Messiah performed live. It was sung by the Apollo Chorus of Chicago at Orchestra Hall on Michigan Avenue, and since then I have enjoyed dozens of additional performances of that beautiful oratorio by Apollo. Even after moving away from Illinois, I have flown back many, many … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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The Hymn for Christmas (also known as See Amid the Winter’s Snow, and Hymn for Christmas Day) is perhaps not as well known, but the lyrics are lovely. See, amid the winter’s snow, Born for us on Earth below, See, the tender Lamb appears, Promised from eternal years. Chorus: Hail, thou ever blessed morn, Hail … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (1849) is one of my favorites, though it doesn’t seem to end up on Christmas albums very often. I find the third verse to be particularly poignant. It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold: … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates is quite old, having been written in the mid-1600s. (The lyrics to this hymn also bring to mind one of my favorite choral selections from Handel’s Messiah. Based on Psalm 24, Lift Up Your Heads is found in Part II.) For now, though, we’ll focus on the hymn. These are … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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Today’s carol originated in France and was written in the 1860s. The author is unknown. I wonder if he/she had any inkling how popular it would become? Angels we have heard on high Sweetly singing o’er the plains And the mountains in reply, Echoing their joyous strains. Glo-ori-a In excelsis de-o Glo-ori-a In excelsis de-o … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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Today’s musical “countdown” comes courtesy of an old chestnut: O Little Town of Bethlehem. Most everyone knows the first verse of all the popular carols from memory – but I find the not-so-well-known additional verses are often quite beautiful. It’s nice to be reminded of “the rest of the story!” O little town of Bethlehem How … Continued

Christmas Countdown

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In my household, music is an integral part of Christmas….especially Handel’s Messiah. I have lots of Christmas music, and enjoy pulling out and listening to the holiday CDs each year. (The collection continues to grow – as this year I added two more!) Now that we’re getting very close to Christmas Day, I thought it … Continued

Last Day to Order for Guaranteed Christmas Delivery

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Make sure to place your order by 11:59pm ET tonight to guarantee delivery by Christmas! All hands will be on deck here overnight and into tomorrow morning to make sure those orders are crafted and shipped no later than Monday morning. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Spotlight on Orphan Grain Train

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We have been honored over the years to make appreciation plaques for churches and service organizations all across the country. It occurred to me the other day that readers of our blog may be interested in knowing more about some of what these folks are doing. So today, I’m shining the spotlight on Orphan Grain … Continued