Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Now the Light Has Gone Away: A Few Lullaby Ideas

Bedtime prayers were a tradition in my parents' home and now in mine. It's a wonderful way to end the day with the Lord and with thankfulness on our minds no matter how horrible our day was. My husband and I sing the Doxology with our little one, and she does a good job of singing along already : )

I prayed to my Guardian Angel, a Roman Catholic Prayer of Protection, every night before going to sleep when I was growing up. It's a sweet prayer, but in the Bible we're taught to pray only to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That doesn't mean we can't talk to our guardian angels, of course, or anyone else who happens to be in heaven. Maybe they can hear us, maybe they're too busy visiting with other loved ones who are in heaven with them or in deep conversation with Jesus Himself: no one really knows how the veil between heaven and earth works because the Bible doesn't explain it beyond assuring us that we are with Jesus in Paradise the same day that we die (Luke 23:42)In any case, leave the prayers and supplications for God alone (Matthew 6:9-14; Philippians 4:4-9) because Jesus is our only intercessor: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time." (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

But I digress. Here are a few suggestions for a Bedtime Routine with your little one that combine a lullaby with a prayer. One verse from either of these songs is plenty long enough for a lullaby and speaks volumes. I regret I couldn't find a single rendition of either hymn on Itunes or YouTube that did them justice. If you don't read music, just make up a tune and go with it. Someone did that with every would-be song at some point, and it worked out pretty well for them ; )

Now the Light Has Gone Away
Written by Frances R. Havergal1870

Now the light has gone away;
Father, listen while I pray,
Asking for Your watch and keep,
And send to me a quiet sleep.

Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that has been wrong today;
Make me more like You each day
In all the things I do and say.

Let my near and dear ones stand
In the hollow of Your hand;
Oh, bring me and all whom I love 
Into Your happy home above.

Now my evening praise I give;
You once died that I might live.
All my blessings come from You
Through Your kindness ever new.

O my blest and dearest Friend,
You will love me to the end.
Let me love You more and more,
Always better than before.
Composer: Liederbuch fur Kleinkinger-Schulen
Tune: Mude Bin Ich

Click for full resolution.

Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow
Written by Rev. Paul Gerhardt1647

Now rest beneath night’s shadow
The woodland, field, and meadow;
The world in slumber lies.
But you, my heart, awaking
And prayer and music making,
Let praise to your creator rise.

The radiant sun has vanished,
Its golden rays are banished
From darkening skies of night;
But Christ, the sun of gladness,
Dispelling all our sadness,
Shines down on us in warmest light.

Now all the heavenly splendor
Breaks forth in starlight tender
From myriad worlds unknown;
And we, this marvel seeing,
Forget our selfish being
For joy of beauty not our own.

Lord Jesus, since You love me,
Now spread Your wings above me
And shield me from alarm. 
Though Satan would devour me,
Let angel guards sing over me:
This child of God shall meet no harm.

My loved ones, rest securely,
For God this night will surely
From peril guard your heads.
Sweet slumbers may He send you
And bid His hosts attend you
And through the night watch over your beds.
Composer: Heinrich Isaac
Tune: O Welt, Ich Muss Dich Lassen
Click for full resolution.
Sometimes, listening to a lullaby and prayer is a nice change of pace without changing the routine, especially on a difficult day when our illness rears its ugly head and all its even uglier symptoms. It's never too early to introduce kids to beautiful music of all kinds especially, many experts say, if it's classical. So, here's Eric Whitacre's breathtaking "Alleluia." I'm pretty sure this is as close as we'll get to hearing angels on this side of Heaven. Just imagine the beautiful, serene dreams this music can create in our little ones' dream-filled heads, and in our own stress-filled ones.

Along those same lines, here is a video I created with Stile Antico's gorgeous rendition of Thomas Tallis' piece "In Pace In Idipsum" ("In Peace, In True Peace, Lie Down and Rest") written in the 16th century. It can easily be used as a lullaby for kids and adults alike. I've translated the lyrics because it's so very important to know what you're singing no matter the language, especially if there are children listening.

Here's another video of mine done without pictures or words with Hugo Aston's c. 1530 "Gaude, Virgo Mater Christe" ("Rejoice, Virgin Mother of Christ").

It is a very, very long piece, so I didn't translate all of the words, but here are a few of them to give you the basic gist of the song:

Gaude quia tui nati.................Rejoice because of the Son
quem dolebas morte pati.......at whose suffering death thou wast grieved
fulget resurrectio.....................the Resurrection now blazeth forth
Gaude Christo ascendente.....Rejoice at Christ’s ascension
et in celum te vidente..............even to heaven, in thy sight
motu fertur proprio................He is borne by His own motion
Ave plena gratia........................Hail, full of grace
Propter plagas Jesu Christi....for the sake of Jesus Christ’s wounds
quas cruentas flens vidisti......which thou didst weep to see bleeding
pro nostra miseria....................for our wretchedness
"You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you, 
for He will command His angels concerning you 
to guard you in all your ways."
< from Psalm 91 >

Josie giggles herself to sleep.
6 weeks old.