On a 2016 Season of Lights

Embed from Getty Images

A candle is a small thing.
But one candle can light another.
And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other.
You are such a light.
Moshe Davis and Victor Ratner

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Such a short poem, yet so profound in many ways … and even better in the season of the lights. On the religious side of 2016, Christians and Jews have celebrations on December 24th – Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah. Three days earlier was another day that provides spirituality for many – the Winter Solstice. Toss in the fact that Christmas also serves as a secular celebration for many, these days impact many.

To me, Santa Claus is a symbol that crosses all cultures – all people – simply because he is the symbol of goodness. After all, goodness across the world as it transcends religions, languages, cultures, skin colors, gender, ages, sexual orientations, and even politics.

As my regulars know well, I enjoy using videos in many of my posts. In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you give me through your interaction here and for your posts. Even through all the craziness in the world, the good feed off each other.

Enjoy any or all of the music selections of the season that are below … but I appreciate knowing which you enjoyed … so stay as long as you wish.

For all who find peace and renewal through the Winter Solstice.

For all finding the light shining bright through the night.

For all who appreciate the music of the season done a different way A few weeks ago we heard – Little Drummer Boy done to the rhythms of Ravel’s Bolero.

For the many regulars here who enjoy The Piano Guys … (I had to include them.)

For all who appreciate the music of other cultures (This one has stuck with me ever since I saw this in person many years ago).

For the fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who meld their words with the beauty of Pachelbel’s Canon.

For all who find awe and wonder in deep space with this classic.

For all attracted to one of the most beautiful natural lights of the season – the Aurora Borealis – and set to my favorite version of a classic tune of the season.

Whether it be Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting you prefer, I issue a greeting of your choosing for the season … plus Peace and Joy to all!

On Virginia and Santa Claus

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Yes, Virginia, when I was your age, I believed in Santa – then I questioned – and then I did not believe for a long time – but I was older when I realized Santa Claus is real.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to a Christian holiday, but because of Santa, many celebrate Christmas who aren’t Christians.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is important because he is a spirit for all of humanity. He’s not White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian … He may be all of those or whoever someone wants him to be because Santa is for everyone.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to St. Nicholas (a Christian saint), but the gift of giving and kindness is important to not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, and all the religions of all the people throughout the big, wonderful world.

Yes, Virginia, some loudly complain about a war on Christmas, buy they do not give Santa much credit.

Yes, Virginia, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I want to give gifts to my readers and anyone who visits this post because I believe there are so many good people throughout the world – and kindness is something all of us have in common.

Yes, Virginia, I want anyone to take as many gifts under this tree as the they want – as long as they tell me in a comment – and they can return as often as they want for more! Yes Virginia, giving is important.

To my fellow Christian friends, Merry Christmas – and we also know what else we are celebrating – and that is important to us to remember.

To all, may the spirit kindness of the holiday season touch each of you … and thanks for all of your doses of Santa kindness that you deliver to my little corner of the world throughout the year and in the time to come.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!

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Many of us are grown up now, but Michael Buble shares a Grown Up Christmas List through clips of classic movies about the holidays.

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This Bing Crosby classic song is a wonderful tradition.

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Lights are one of the joys of the season, so here’s a house serving as a background to an acoustic guitar version of The First Noel by Trans Siberian Orchestra

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Several years ago, Lynn (Composer in the Garden) wrote Father Time, and this is a good opportunity to share her spirit of the season.

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To many, handbells are a sound of the season. Here is a fast-paced version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with interesting techniques that our choir is playing Christmas Eve. (Start at 1:15 in the video)

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Here’s some Christmas flavor from a local legend. Like her famous nephew George, the late Rosemary Clooney’s roots are Cincinnati. Her Christmas Mem’ries will rekindle your memories.

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I find Where Are You Christmas? by The Piano Guys to be special music that is fitting for this post.

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… and their Carol of the Bells is outstanding.

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For the dancers in the crowd, a spin around the floor to the Christmas Waltz promises to deliver smiles.

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A post like this must include on piece of humor, thus so cheers to the Star Trek spin on a holiday favorite.

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A Fire for You (John Boswell) delivers beautiful music to for the Winter Solstice and the season.

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The universe is a spectacular place, and its wonders continue to amaze me. Enjoy a trip through the universe through the Hubble telescope accompanied by a piano version of Oh Holy Night.

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Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is not only one of my favorite joys of the season, it is also very calming and accompanied by beautiful images.

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For those wanting to celebrate the sounds of Christmas through voices, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are wonderful together … and yes Virginia, I believe.

On a Time for Gifts

Christmas Eve is here. Later tonight, I look forward to the customary drive to church where I see empty parking lots and festivities in the homes along the way.

My readers have given me gifts of visits, likes, and comments. You are a very  gracious lot. Interestingly, this is post #800, which has generated almost 54,000 visits, and over well 3,000 comments from visitors (not counting my responses).

This past week’s posts took us on a music journey through the vast world of humanity. Given the comments, you appreciated the surprises along the way.

Under the Christmas tree you will like a variety of gifts. Pick as many as you like, but I insist you take at least one … and I hope you tell me the gift(s) you selected. (I’m very interested to see what John takes.) I’ve also added some blog references for fun – but I can’t mention everyone!

Merry Christmas!

The handbell lovers have two choices. Tonight, our choir is joining forces with the vocal choir for this combined Noel Festival. (No YouTube, but a high quality recording without the bells.) Meesh, I believe this is a French carol.

We are also playing this version of Silent Night to accompany the congregation with candle light. Kay, you enjoy calm & beauty through music.

On the Time post I featured Lynn Purse, so here is another one of your compositions – Father Christmas.

Here’s a treat from Australia of a fabulous light show at St. Mary’s Cathedral … and it is very fitting for the day.  (thanks Mags)

Since Carol of the Bells is a holiday favorite, this is done by a very good handbell choir. (Rita, extra handbell music to widen your choice.)

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Santa’s Six White Boomers, here ya go .. Ah those crazy Aussies. Wonder if Les will enjoy this?

Need a nostalgic trip? This video has clips of holiday movies and music to the Christmas Waltz. I know that Nonnie loves movies, and this is perfect for Beagz’ Belle.

Here’s a music scenic trip for the season. Photographers as Robin, Joe,  and Otto will enjoy this

Need to laugh? El Guapo and Hansi will love this, but who may have to fight Eleanor.

On Christmas Eve 2010

The holiday hubbub makes us think that Christmas is Christianity’s most important holiday. Nope – that’s Easter – but Christmas is important.

On the secular side, Santa Claus is a spirit of giving that intertwines with the Christian holiday, thus a spirit that calls many non-Christians to the season of goodness. This week I featured gifts of humor, wine, images, and music this week, yet today is simple the gift of peace.

I love the darkness of Christmas Eve. The drive to and from church is peaceful as we pass stores with empty parking lots. Meanwhile, the car radio will air soft holiday music to match the peace.

Merry Christmas to everyone appreciating the greeting, and to others, best wishes to you in the greeting that you prefer – and peace to all.

Your choice of videos: Josh Groban’s great voice singing Oh Holy Night or the diverse ringing techniques of the Raleigh Ringers performing Christmas Eve Sarajevo. I want to ring those big bells!

Josh Groban

Raleigh Ringers

On Merry Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve may be my favorite day of the year. Not so much in a family way, but after the hectic shopping season, I like driving past shopping areas and seeing empty parking lots. That calm simply subdues the frantic nature of the preceding days.

Many of you have given me a gift by simply stopping by and possibly commenting. I’m touched, humbled, and grateful for your time: Tim, Rad, Dave, Joe, Maxi, David, Ryan, Beeze, Larry, Paulette, Mo, Frag, Brad, Michelle, Randy, Dwain, 3rd Stone, CCC, Chris, CJ, JD, Chuck, Luke, Jake, Rod, Al, Larry, Kebby, Dan, Charles, Kelly, Tim, Tori, Diana, Lisa, Cam, Jerry, Hooper, Walter, John, Bobby, David, Brian, Steve, KJ, Blask, Carol, Jane, Paddy, Jason, Alex, Ben, Matt, Sharon, Stan, Kelly, Tom, Adam, Andy, whoever I left out, and whoever read and never commented.

As I’ve said before, my work schedule has strained my posting and my visits to the blog that help in my learning. I miss visiting you, but a special thanks for your continual visits here.

Although I wish Merry Christmas to all, I also extended greetings to you in whatever your tradition! Meanwhile, my Christmas gift to you is three minutes of Carol of the Bells by the fantastic Celtic Woman.

Looking Forward to Christmas Eve

100pixelmod32Probably my favorite day of the year, Christmas Eve is just one day away. More specifically, it’s the evening and night I enjoy the most. After weeks of holiday ads, attending events, dealing with traffic in shopping areas, long checkout lines along with countless other things to do, nightfall on Christmas Eve suddenly calms the holiday madness.

I’m not talking about presents or a family event; but my feeling will start around 8:00 pm; that’s when we leave to go to church. The roads aren’t crowded; many of the closed stores are fronted by empty parking lots; neighborhood lights are on; and light Christmas music will be on my car radio for that 15-minute journey.

My wife and I play in a bell & chimes choir at church; thus we’ll be there for two services. Whether the celebratory sounds of Joy to the World or the calm nature of Silent Night by candlelight, Christmas music at church is always moving. Besides, our music director always coordinates a wonderful music event.

We’ll leave church around 12:15-12:30 am feeling spiritually refreshed, but physically tired. Easy Christmas music will play while on the return trip home; and yes, a calmer drive than before. I’ll feel sad for the convenient store workers and wonder why the owners can’t close for the night.

Christmas Eve is simply the one night of the year when society seems to slow down – and I like that.