Happy New Year!

BBC Symphony, Chorus & Singers

Sacred Music Friday: Hallelujah

King’s College Choir, Cambridge performing Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah

returning of the light

Both Tahoe Mom and I have been known to reflect on how it is no coincidence that Christmas comes four days after the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. We celebrate the coming of the Light just as the light is starting to return. I love that image, and it is a central part of my observance of Christmas every year.

This year that spiritual dimension is coupled with a very practical dimension. Since we had our solar energy system installed we rely on the light of the sun to help us reduce our dependence on the power company for electricity, and, I hope, make our small contribution to the environment. I am happy, therefore, to report that on the Solstice, which was also in large part a wet, rainy day, we produced a respectable amount of energy. We can now expect to see increased energy production as the days get longer. That’s not to say that our smallest energy production would be on the Solstice. Sunday was so dark, wet, and rainy that we actually generated far more power on the Solstice. But on whole, we look forward to increased production.

Form a spiritual perspective and from a practical perspective, those are both good things.


My friend Tahoe Mom wrote in her blog about a friend of hers who quoted this statement on Facebook: “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” He actually went on from there, and Tahoe Mom took her blog entry in a different direction, but I focused in on those words.

The season of Christmas is, after all, one, among other things, of wonder. In addition to that, the statement made me think of Loren Eisley. Remember Loren Eisley and his books on the wonder of nature? I read most of them. Strangely, I don’t have a single Eisley book today. I think I read most of his books while on break when I was working at B. Dalton Bookseller in the 1970’s and 80’s. But I always loved his willingness to have a sense of awe and wonder in his experience of nature.

I miss that style of writing, which also makes me think of Annie Dillard’s early (first?) book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Any recommendations for contemporary authors in that genre?

Joy to the World

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!


Secular Music Friday: Neil Diamond – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

A marvelous Neil Diamond rendition of the John Lennon classic. And as unrealistic as it might sound, we can hope and pray for the end of war.

And believe it or not, as daring as it may seem
It is not an empty dream, to walk in a powerful path
Neither the first not the last great peace march
Holly Near

And Happy Solstice for those who so celebrate. Though the song is about Christmas, it somehow seems appropriate for the Solstice as well.