Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hundred Dollar Holiday Excerpt #2

Over the next few weeks as I'm reading through the little book Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben, I thought I would share some quotes with you that I find thought provoking and/or inspiring.  The book takes a look at the history of the holiday of Christmas and offers up suggestions to simplify it in order to make it even more meaningful (less is more, no?).  This little series is not meant to take away from however you choose to celebrate.  They are just thoughts to ponder.

"What can excite us- what can make us salivate the way a circus could make some Kansas farm boy salivate- is the prospect of peace and quiet.  The prospect of a lull, an interlude.  Stillness scares us (that's why the TV goes on when we walk into the hotel room) but it attracts us, too.  If there's one thing we'd really like from Christmas, I think, it's a little of that "season of peace" that the greeting card writers are always promising.  It's one of the reasons "Silent Night" is the all-time favorite carol.  There's a moment when we sing it each year at the end of the Christmas service, with the lights out and everyone holding a candle that frames their face with soft light, and that marks for me the absolute height of Christmas.... It's not that this quiet is morally superior to noise; if I'd lived on the eighteenth-century prairie surrounded by windy quiet, I'm sure I'd have been out there blowing things up [he's referring to firecrackers] on Christmas eve, and grinning as I did it. But we live here and now, amidst clamor.  For us, what beckons is not the flash of the Saturnalia [an ancient Roman festival], but instead that little town of Bethlehem, with its deep and dreamless sleep, its silent stars floating by.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts the blessing of his heaven.
No ear can hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in." Pin It

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