I’ve never spent Christmas in New York, but Garrison Keillor has. Of course, he’s by no means everyone’s ideal guide to the Christmas spirit…but I think he’s on to something nonetheless.
This is from his Christmas program a few years back. He wrote the words, Musica Sacra performed the piece. Between their powerfully spiritual, ethereal sound, and his homely, deceptively simplistic lyrics, something deeply truthful emerged, something that perhaps only a pious liberal in a busy commercial city could have caught just so:
In the bleak midwinter / all around the park
Tall apartment buildings / blazing in the dark
Standing here on Broadway / and West 64th
Watching for a taxi: / who is heading north?
In the cafÃ© window / little candles glow
Where we met for dinner / long, long ago
In the bleak midwinter / happy times recall
Loved ones smiling, laughing / blessed memories all
Over by the church door / twenty feet away
A figure wrapped in blankets / lying in the hay
Who is this stranger / sleeping in cardboard?
So says the gospel / it is Christ the Lord
Where can we find it / Christmas love and cheer?
Where are the shepherds / standing, waiting near?
Who is the choir? / Shall we sing our part?
Hear the Christmas music / in you heart.
More thoughts here, if you care for them. And meanwhile…Merry Christmas, everyone.