This month, I’m writing about the beauty of the Christmas/holiday season. I’d love to hear from you about your traditions.
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 celebrate the miraculous event. They can add to our sense of wonder and joy at Christmastime.
Which of your traditions during the holiday season include the arts? Are there any new ones you’d like to add to make the season more special? I’ve listed a few of my favorite ones below to jog your memory and maybe give you ideas for incorporating something new.
Literature: The biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth in Matthew and Luke show the beauty of words and story-telling. I also love The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman, an art book with gorgeous illustrations for every day with doors that open.
Visual arts: Our cheery Christmas tree covered in fun folk art and balls of every color and size. My other favorites include our Nativity set made of pottery from Africa; ornaments made by a mother/daughter duo who host the annual mother/daughter luncheon that we attend; my daughter’s handmade gifts to me through the years.
Film/Movies: The scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas when Linus recites Luke 2 (I can still hear him do it). The movie Snowman based on the book by Raymond Briggs--a wonderful story with gorgeous music for all ages. I cry every time. And How the Grinch Stole Christmas, because I love Max the dog.
Theater: Candlelight Christmas Eve services; “A Christmas Memory” and “A Thanksgiving Visitor,” short stories by Truman Capote, as performed by Tom Key, actor and Executive Artistic Director of Theatrical Outfit in Atlanta (www.theatricaloutfit.org).
Ballet: A few weeks ago, my niece danced two roles in The Nutcracker (and did a wonderful job, of course!). This ballet weds the two arts, dance and music, in a way that pulls people in, even young children. Many families make The Nutcracker part of their holiday celebration every year, and as I looked at all the kids in the audience, I thought about how the show is a service to the community as well.
Music: I wrote about music here, but briefly: I love almost all the carols (except for “O Tannenbaum”!); seeing Robert Shaw conduct the Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra in A Festival of Carols several times before he died; Handel’s Messiah, which always makes me think of the glory of heaven.
So, what are your favorites? Is there anything new you'd like to add to your traditions this year? Let me know below or here. And 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