The devotion of a young maid, the courage of her groom-to-be, the birth of the precious little One--in a manger of all places. It’s a story that’s both well worn and brand new with every telling. The arts help us tell the story, celebrate that miraculous event. They add to the sense of wonder and joy I’ve experienced at Christmastime ever since I was little. Here are a few of my favorite works in no particular order:
Music: almost all the carols (except for “O Tannenbaum”!) and especially those on the old Harry Simeon Chorale record my parents played every year while we decorated the tree; seeing Robert Shaw conduct the Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra in A Festival of Carols before he died; Handel’s Messiah, although I can’t hit the high notes anymore
Theater: candlelight Christmas Eve services; Narnia, a musical version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe presented by our church the last two Decembers; “A Christmas Memory” and “A Thanksgiving Visitor,” short stories by Truman Capote, as performed by Tom Key, actor and Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta (www.theatricaloutfit.org).
Literature: the biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth; The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman
Film/Movies: the scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas when Linus recites Luke 2 (I can still hear him do it)
Visual arts: our Christmas trees covered in folk art and other handmade ornaments as well as balls of every color and size; my Nativity set made of pottery from Africa; my daughter’s handmade gifts to me
As you celebrate the birth of Christ, too, may this Christmas be filled with wonder and joy for you and yours.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14