Friday, December 25, 2020

The Magi, a multigenerational family gathering, a little baby, a Sufi dancer / Leonard Cohen / Michael Blumenthal on the value of art

"Dylan said that, although he was born and raised Jewish, he never felt left out of Christmas during his childhood in Minnesota. Regarding the popularity of Christmas music, he said, "... it's so worldwide and everybody can relate to it in their own way."

Ever since "Christmas in the Heart" was released in 2009, this video has been part of my December experience which includes World AIDS Day, St. Nicholas Day, Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and, in some years, Ramadan, as well as numerous beginnings and endings in my life and the lives of those I love.

Reading Sabine's post today, "Be Kind," for some reason reminded me of "The Little Drummer Boy".  I had not watched and listened to it yet this year.  After watching and listening, it occurred to me once again that the family gathering with the children and the little baby and adults from several generations might well be an interfaith gathering.  In past years what had also caught my attention was the presence of the Magi at the beginning of the video and a single Sufi dancer at the end of the video. 

With a little Googling, I re-read the lyrics and see that Bob Dylan changed:

I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give our king


I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give a king


I remembered what Leonard Cohen said in 1988:

"I'm very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who ever walked the face of this earth. Any guy who said "Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek" has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness.. . A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing could weather that compassion. I'm not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me, in spite of what I know about the history of legal Christianity, the figure of the man has touched me".

Thank you to Sabine for drawing my attention to Michael Blumenthal's poem, "Be Kind," which led me to his talk on the value of art. 

With love to blog friends, near and far. 


Anonymous said...

It's such an interesting holiday season for me. I grew up in a Jewish household, but we practiced no religion. We never celebrated Hanukkah or Christmas, although my paternal grandfather would bring us presents on Christmas. He was a creepy ogre of a man so his gifts meant nothing. I am more inclined to celebrate the season for the return of the light on our beautiful tilting earth. The old religious stories are interesting, but I only view them through my modern eyes and see what the stories have done to us over the years. Still, it is a holiday for so many. Part of me understands the ongoing passion for it all.

37paddington said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, am, and especially for that wonderful quote about Jesus Christ, yes, a very cool cat, though much maligned in 2020 evangelical America. But today is not a day for politics. It is for love, and I hold armfuls of it for you. I hope you had a good day, and will have a wonderful year ahead.

Carruthers said...

Always interesting to hear what writers have to say about writing. I was listening the other day to the UK writer Will Self talking about it. He said he needed solitude to write - how conversation could kill off his ability do it because the voices of wraith-like characters he was in the process of inventing were too easily drowned out by the noise of "real" people. To have the space to create people he needed to get away from people.

Sabine said...

We've abandoned all that xmas cheer tradition many years ago but I fear it will come back with the grandchild growing up.
Instead, we make a point of hibernating, wintering as I call it.

"In our relentlessly busy contemporary world, we are forever trying to defer the onset of winter. We don’t ever dare to feel its full bite, and we don’t dare to show the way that it ravages us. A sharp wintering, sometimes, would do us good. We must stop believing that these times in our life are somehow silly, a lack of nerve, a lack of willpower. We must stop trying to ignore or dispose of them. They are real, and they are asking something of us. We must learn to invite the winter in.”
(from the excellent book Wintering by Katherine May)

Tara said...

Wishing you a healthy and peaceful New Year.

beth coyote said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.