Did you know that you, the average person, can own your own hymnal? They're actually quite reasonable in price. We use the Trinity Hymnal in our church and in our home; GCP (Great Commission Publications) sells them for a mere $17. If you have more than three people in your family, consider buying more than one. If you have a musician in your family, consider buying the spiral-bound edition that will stay open while the person plays. We have several hymnals in our home, including that spiral-bound one.
My husband and I grew up sitting in the church pew every Sunday. (And we still do that!) It is true though, that while we learned many hymns by osmosis, as it were, sitting there in the pew Sunday after Sunday, we have also both invested a large portion of time actively learning the great hymns of the faith. My husband plays both piano and organ and has played for countless church services over the years (currently he plays for our own church's morning worship service every other month). I used to accompany my church's evening worship service with my recorder (yes, I did!); there was a pianist as well and occasionally another recorder player.
But what if you're not a musician or a pastor. Why should you own your own hymnal? So you can sing at home with your families. Even if you aren't married and/or don't have children, you can still sing on your own or simply read through it for beautiful poetry which echoes the great truths of our faith. A well edited and selected hymnal should contain hymns which are true to Scripture and reflect the great historical traditions and understandings of our faith. We remember words put to music more easily, so it is a gift to your children to teach them songs that remind them of the Lord and which will bring them encouragement down the road and enrich their faith.
And, I must tell you, friends, there is nothing, nothing, sweeter than hearing your young children sing out their hearts to the Lord. As soon as you have a child who can read an easy reader book, encourage him or her to follow along in the hymnal. You will be amazed at how quickly they are able to read those long words so helpfully broken up into syllables. And their favorites may surprise you; our kids love "Holy, Holy, Holy."
Hymnal image from gcp