On Christmas 2019

Embed from Getty Images

 

To me, the December holiday rush is about the season of goodness. Some see it through a festival of light, others through a Nativity scene, others through the secular side of a Christmas tree, others through darkness of nature and Yule, and I’m sure other ways exist. Whatever the perspective, this is the season for joy, light, renewal, and hope.

I know that Christmas is a Christian holiday. Although I am a Christian, so my thoughts will cause some skin to crawl, but I also see this holiday time as the season of goodness that goes across humanity regardless of religion. A season of goodwill to all – l season of gratitude and appreciation of others –  a season …. And at the head of the holiday parade is Santa Claus – the Spirit of Goodness.

Santa is for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Naturalists, Christians, and anyone and everyone else believing in a positive humanity. Yes, Santa is for everyone!

For me and to many others here, it’s Merry Christmas – but for others its’s Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice (or Yule), or simply have a blessed holiday.  In my final Christmas post in my little corner of the world, and being one believing the majority of the world is good, I wish everyone bountiful goodness during this holiday season with the greeting that suits them.

Below are some of my favorites for the season. For me, the gift of music for you is me. Whether you watch all or some, please let me know your favorites.

Christmas Canon (Trans Siberian Orchestra)

 

Silent Night (Placido Domingo and The Piano Guys)

 

As a ballroom dancer, I must include the light-hearted Christmas Waltz featuring a variety of clips from holiday movies.

 

In the spirit of the Winter Solstice, enjoy A Fire For You (John Boswell).

 

Ever since I saw this performed live, I love it – a Nigerian carol by the Morman Tabernacle Choir.

 

O Holy Night (piano solo with beautiful images of deep space).

 

Silent Night (Mannheim Steamroller – a long-time personal favorite arrangement featuring images of nature)

On Christmas 2018

Embed from Getty Images

 

On these pages I have stressed this point many times: “I believe the majority of the people in the world are good.” Regardless of the bad news we receive on any given day from any given place, I continue to maintain that statement as an important mantra.

Not only to I believe the majority of the people in the world are good, I also see Santa as the Spirit of Goodness because it is that spirit that touches all.

It is the season of Christmas across Christendom – and yes, Christmas is a religious holiday – and yes – I am Christian – and yes, I embrace Christmas a secular holiday for all.

Whereas some Christians (and I believe the minority) complain about the commercialism while proclaiming, Put Christ back in Christmas, I say there is plenty of room for everyone in a secular Christmas because Santa – the Spirit of Goodness – is for everyone. Santa is for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Naturalists, Christians, and anyone and everyone else.

During our recent trip to the Czech Republic, were told (multiple times) that the vast majority of Czechs today do not identify themselves as religious – let alone associated with a religious community. Yet – they embrace Christmas. I’m confident the Czech example if not unique – but rather very common because they embrace the Spirit of Goodness that the season brings.

Mannheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is one of my favorites. Below are different videos to the same song. I hope you pick one (and let me know).

May the Spirit of Goodness be with you not only during this holiday season, but throughout life.

The original

 

Beautiful painting of the season and live wildlife

 

Featuring the Aurora Borealis

 

More religious

On Christmas 2017

Embed from Getty Images

For much of the world, December is the season. A season of joy and light. A season of warmth and kindness. A season of spirit and belief. A season of renewal and hope. As those thoughts are with Christians and Jews around the celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, I contend this is the season not just for these two religions, but this is the season for all of humanity.

Santa Claus is the leading spirit of the season. He’s is the one of binds joy, light, warmth, kindness, spirit and believe not just to Christians, but for all of humanity. Santa is a positive spirit for all humans across the globe to embrace. Santa is the one that reaches into everyone’s childlike heart to touch an anticipated goodness. It is in this spirit that Santa crosses the barriers of culture, gender, skin color, religion, language, sexual orientation, nationality, and politics.

Santa carries the spirit unlimited goodness to all humans for them to embrace. No – embracing Santa does not carry an automatic endorsement of Christianity. I know those proclaiming “Put the Christ back in Christmas” shutter at my thoughts and banish me to the fires of Hell, but Santa is powerful spirit and symbol that allows humanity to pass goodness among itself – to pass goodness across cultures.

Yes, I am a Christian – and I understand why some believe the over-commercialization of Christmas is too secular – thus less religious. Yes, it is important for me to remember the religious aspect of Christmas. However, Christmas has also evolved into a secular holiday – and the Spirit of Santa leads the way by transcending all people in all cultures regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs.

Merry Christmas to those who accept Santa as the spirit of Goodness. Happy Holiday to those preferring that greeting. To those embracing the Winter Solstice and Yule, may the quiet, fire, and calm of the night lead you to a positive returning sun that will bring peace, joy, and love in the days ahead. To my Jewish friends, my the blessings of your light bring you happiness. To my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas wish to you.

My season gift to you is for you to enjoy at least one of the music selections below. Which did you enjoy?

Enya’s And Winter Came celebrates the winter solstice

The Piano Guys playing a song of the season

Manheim Steamroller’s Silent Night with glories skies is a personal favorite

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 a Holiday Reprise as Shorts

Embed from Getty Images

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day. Ours was simple as we hosted one (my father-in-law). After dinner, we played 3-handed euchre for multiple hours. The next day we took a 3-hour drive to visit an aunt, then returned the next day.

For part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I took time to visit many bloggers, which I greatly enjoyed.

For the rest of this week, I hope to put together a few Explore posts to for light enjoyment

A reminder, Tuesday is the Kennedy Center Honors telecast.

Did all your packages arrive on-time? My wife and I were keeping it very simple this year. I ordered a small gift. (Good luck following this one)

  1. Records showed delivery, but I didn’t have a package.
  2. Knowing the odds of finding it before Christmas Day was slim, I ordered something else and paid more for two-day delivery (which would have been the 24th).
  3. Later the same day, we located the original package at the front door down the street (obviously the wrong address) – and the resident didn’t know it was there because she was out-of-town visiting family.
  4. Meanwhile, the second package has been sitting in Orlando (Florida) for more time than it was supposed to take to get here.

Thank you for the many kind comments regarding my Christmas post linking the goodness of people, Santa Claus, and the spirit of Christmas. To coincide with that post, LB (@Cruise Stories) shared this interesting post for the season, in which Rachel (a Jewish woman) tells about her love of Christmas movies.

On the same theme, the executive director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University had a wonderful column in the local paper, which paralleled my Christmas message. Here’s his closing statement, plus the link to the entire column.

During this Christmas season, as we assemble with family and friends, let us pledge to make every encounter life-giving, to commit that all of God’s creations have a place not only in this world but in our heart. If we can be “for other people” we will never be “different to other people.. Nor they to us. Merry Christmas from a rabbi. (Rabbi Abie Ingber)

Calvin (@Beyond Plum Creek) shared this message through a song, which isn’t a Christmas song, but it sure fits my theme of Christmas is for everyone and that Santa is the Spirit of Christmas. Have a good final week of 2015.

On the Spirit of Christmas 2015

Although the daily news goes against these thoughts, but I truly believe the following:

  • The majority of people in the world are good.
  • Smiles are the universal language that crosses all language and cultural barriers.
  • Kindness is the universal action that everyone appreciates.

These points are constantly in my head when volunteering at the English Second Language (ESL) classes – especially with Arabs and Muslims. For me, Matt Harding’s videos support my thoughts. After all, all one has to do is watch the faces in the video. Maybe that’s part of the reason this video frequently waters my eyes.

You may wonder what this has to do with the Christmas season, but (to me) it demonstrates an important essence of the holiday season in today’s world.

Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday … and yes, I’m a Christian. While some complain about the secular and commercial aspect by proclaiming “put Christ back into Christmas”, my contrarian nature sees another view. For those embracing that mantra, I say go for it – but not at the expense of others because the spirit of Christmas is for everyone.

Besides its religious significance, Christmas is also a celebration of goodness: The goodness that ties the entire human race. The goodness that crosses all geographic and cultural boundaries, including language and religion. The goodness that is for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Sikhs, and all other religions. The goodness is for all ages, all genders, all races, and all sexual orientations … simply the goodness for all people everywhere.

Yes, the roots of Santa Claus lie deep within Christianity. From St. Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra), other traditions developed as baby Christkindl (eventually Kris Kringle), Father Christmas, and Sinterklaas. Europeans brought these traditions (and others) to the United States that serve as the foundation for Christmas today.

Several events in mid-to-late 1800s helped morph Santa: mainly Thomas Nast’s version of Santa in Harper’s Weekly, and Clement Clayton Moore’s icon poem, The Night Before Christmas.

Although Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and various Norman Rockwell paintings helped transform Santa’s image in the early 1900s, it was artist Haddon Sundblom’s portrayals of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola that cemented the image of Santa Claus that we embrace today. From 1931-1964, Sundblom’s Santa served as a brilliant marketing total for the beverage company giant.

All along the journey from Nicholas of Myra to the modern-day Santa, goodness is the common theme. Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas – the one who portrays goodness and kindness to all. If goodness is for everyone, it seems logical to me that everyone can celebrate Christmas. Santa Claus is the one who sees kindness across cultures, religions, races, and languages. After all, the majority of us want kindness, plus peace and goodwill for all.

In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you regularly give to me. Thank you for helping me maintain my faith in humanity. One hand is sufficient in counting the number of visitors here I’ve physically met, but I am sure of one thing – You are the good of Santa’s spirit.

For my video gifts to you, enjoy two version of Silent Night. The first by Mannheim Steamroller accompanied by beautiful displays from the night sky is one of my long-time favorites. For those preferring a singer, Placido Domingo joins The Piano Guys.

Merry Christmas to those who accept Santa as the spirit of Christmas … Happy Holiday to those preferring that greeting … and to my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas to you.

Peace to all.

On Holiday-Week Shorts

Embed from Getty Images

This post is a cheap imitation of Opinion in the Shorts … make that very cheap … but it’s a way to dispense some information.

With this being Christmas week, I realize upcoming posts will be around a different schedule – so here’s my hopeful plan for the rest of 2015

  • The next post will be my Christmas post (on either Wednesday or Thursday)
  • Several Explore posts between Christmas and the New Year (a light and easy agenda)

Many thanks to everyone attending my holiday party. It seems my new (non-Onion) gift supplier was a success … thus the challenge for next year. Nonetheless, thanks for all the smiles you gave me.

We enjoy watching the Kennedy Center Honors during the holidays. This year’s show is December 29th on CBS, so check your local listings. This year’s honoree are singer-songwriter Carole King, filmmaker George Lucas, actress and singer Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa, and actress and Broadway star Cicely Tyson.

We finally saw the latest James Bond movie – Spectre. Typical Bond, thus enjoyable. During the holiday we hope to see The Big Short, Concussion, and maybe the latest Star Wars.

I enjoy making limoncello – a wonderful Italian drink that is sweet, lemony, and strong. It’s easy to make, and this past-post tells how. This year I’m in the process of making a variation – gingercello – sweet, gingery, strong, and a touch of heat – an interesting combination. I hope to bottle it soon, thus give away some to friends.

This remains a holiday classic in my warped world.

The Democratic candidates had a presidential debate this past Saturday. Yep – I didn’t watch – but I’ve put together a collection of fact checks: Annenberg, PolitiFacts, Associated Press, Washington Post.

As soon as I heard Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) comment about the recruitment videos, I shook my head – and it seems that the fact checkers are backing up my apprehension.

Because The Mummies were above with Carol of the Belts, I’ll send you into the week with one of their songs. Have a good week.