How nice that the Charlie Brown Christmas continues to pop up on TV, unexpectedly and often, at this time of year. I caught it last night and was charmed, as always. I have cried many times at the end, when the Peanuts produce a chorus of Hark! the Herald Angles Sing. But not last night. Not at all.
I’ve also just read A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas, for the first time. I’ve seen it often on DVD, with Denholm Elliott as the warm grandfather who narrates the whole of Thomas’s poetry and makes us fall in love with both the story and the character he plays. The DVD is brilliant, and I cannot resist recommending it to everyone.
The book itself is among the most tender things I’ve read – in a class with Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale, The Selfish Giant – in a class with Linus’s rendering of the verses from Luke about shepherds who were “sore afraid” when multitudes of the Heavenly Host appeared above them. If you haven’t checked out any of these recently – including the verses from Luke – I’m recommending them as well.
Why? Because I like to make recommendations. And because of what these various pieces have to do with inspiration, creativity, trust, spirituality and the nature of Christmas.
When you think about it, all of these touch on the idea of being open to something we cannot quite trust, cannot will into existence, but know is there.
Each year, as we go through our lives, what captures and moves us will change, it will deepen and shift, more sorrow will be added and more joy. Christmas, by its nature, is meant to give us time for these reflections – for the traditions, the stories and the braveries we develop around them. Merry Christmas. Om shanti shanti shanti.