The glorious music in Bethlehem the night our Savior was born

Students, grades K-8, from around diocese submit essays, artwork for annual Just for Kids contest

GREEN BAY — What did Mary sing to baby Jesus? What music or instruments did the angels sing or play at Bethlehem? And what did it all look like?

Calleigh Forgette, Grade 8, St. Joseph School, Green Bay. Teacher: Susan Aerts (Art winner, grades 7-8)

The music of the Nativity was the subject for the essay and art challenge for The Compass’ 33rd  annual “Just for Kids” Christmas contest. Children in grades K-8, from schools, faith formation classes and individual homes submitted 104 essays and 308 pieces of art. Students from 13 schools and parish programs, as well as 16 individuals took part.

The Compass partnered with World Mission Services of the Diocese of Green Bay to submit “Just for Kids” art to the Missionary Childhood Association’s (MCA) national Christmas card contest. The art in this section, chosen by an independent panel of judges, will be sent to that contest. Winners will be named in spring 2021.

Last year’s MCA winners’ work — including Payton Noskowiak of Antigo — is available as downloadable cards from MCA’s website at

This section presents the winning essays and artwork. Follow the PDF link for all the essay entries. All art entries can be found at The Compass’ Flickr account.

Grades K-2 

I think some angels played “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” with trumpets and the other angels sang it because it was baby Jesus’ birth. I got this idea because I looked at the angel in my window at home playing a trumpet. — Nora Pielhop, Grade 1, Holy Family Catholic School, Brillion. Teacher: Laurie Wagner

Mary loved Jesus so much and was so happy the day he was born that I think she would’ve sang “Glory to God in the Highest.” Baby Jesus would laugh. Mary would thank God and would smile. — Elena Dehardo, Grade 2, St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) School, Greenville. Teacher: Mary Doverspike

The angels were so filled with joy so I think they sang “Joy to the World.” It’s a cheerful song and the shepherds were also filled with joy. All because Jesus was born. — Victoria Wanke, Grade 2, St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) School, Greenville. Teacher: Mary Doverspike

Grades 3-4

Mary and the angels sang and played instruments for baby Jesus. They played “What Child is This?” This song made Jesus fall asleep with a smile on his face. They sang and played the trumpets softly so that they would not wake him up. When Jesus was next to Mary, he felt very safe. — Aliya Nowak, Grade 4, Holy Trinity School, Casco. Teacher: Gail Waterstreet

 \What I think the song that Mary or the angels sang or played for baby Jesus is “Do You See What I See?” because in the song they explain they see a “Shepard boy” and “A star, a star” to represent the large shining guide and the tiny, glorious baby child sound asleep in a manger of hay. — Madison Werner, Grade 4, St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) School, Greenville. Teacher: Heather Frommell

My little baby boy was just born and I am overjoyed. I am the mother of the Son of God. I break out singing “Hark the Herald.” In the second verse, my husband, Joseph, joins in and we sing it together. We sing together, hand by hand, hugging. I am so overjoyed to have Jesus Christ, as my son. — Mary Auer, St. Mary Elementary, Neenah. Teacher: Christine Cedergren

Grades 5-6

I think the angels played “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” because there were angels watching over him because he was the newborn king. The angels may have sung it when he was born to get everyone’s attention so they would come to see him. It tells everyone that the prince of peace is born. — Avery Westlund, Grade 5, Holy Trinity School, Casco. Teacher: Gail Waterstreet

I believe the night Jesus was born the angels were singing him the song “O Holy Night.” God gave us the ultimate gift on December 25th and the angels were explaining through song the joy of that divine night. The world had been waiting for this miracle and as the song states, “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” — Scarlett R., Grade 5, St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) Greenville. Teacher: Yvonne Alexander

The song that I think the angels sang for Baby Jesus was “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” I believe that they sang this song because they were so overjoyed that Christ was born. I wonder what they sang to Jesus when he was born in Bethlehem. I wonder if the angels gave Jesus any presents when he was born? — Jacob Marquardt, Grade 5, St. Rose/St. Mary School, Clintonville. Teacher: Cathie Curns

Grades 7-8

The angels might have sung “Joy to the World” to tell other people that the King or to tell that our Messiah is here. Echoing loud and clear, Our Savior is here. Bouncing off stars and traveling across the plains with this beautiful, joyous sound leading the way while Jesus lay sleep and sound in his manger bed. — Hannah Huza, Grade 8, St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) School, Greenville. Teacher: Mrs. J. Engelbert

Angels would have lit up the night with their wordless song. With low voices rumbling in harmony with high whispers. Mary humming along, comforting the infant. The winds stopping to catch another note. This song is still echoing off mountains and if you are very quiet, you may catch a bit of music floating through the breeze, raining down from heaven. — Brooklyn Coenen, Grade 8, St. Mary (Immaculate Conception) School, Greenville. Teacher: Mrs. J. Engelbert

The harmonious tune wanes in and out as the angel chorus marches toward the holy manger. Its beauty is ineffable and its melody is incomparable. An orchestration from Heaven to ring in the birth of our Lord. This tune marks a turning point. No more will the Devil keep his aching grip over us. For the Lord is all powerful. — Spencer Messmann, Grade 7, Holy Rosary, Kewaunee. Teacher: Kris Stollberg