On holiday

I’m off to New England for the next week or so, with uncertain Internet access, so PoT will be on a sort of hiatus: I probably won’t be blogging until January, but my co-bloggers have free rein to blog away in my absence. As for comments: If you’ve already posted a comment at PoT, you can comment at will, but if you haven’t posted here yet, it may be up to a week before I manage to see and approve your comment.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas (tomorrow), Happy Hannukah (last week), Happy Diwali (October 22), Eid Mubarak (October 4), Seasons Greetings (ongoing), Happy Holidays (strategically vague), and Happy Winter Solstice (this past Sunday).

Incidentally, I’ve weighed in on the (essentially ridiculous) Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays controversy here.

Even an old non-believer like me has to admit that we owe Christianity a debt for the music it’s given us. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t quite true that the Devil has the best tunes: between God and the Devil, it’s actually a pretty close competition. Anyway, it’s customary to associate Christmas with Handel’s Messiah (which I love), but in the spirit of ecumenism for which PoT is known, I thought I’d leave you-all with something different: Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” a tune that manages to capture the spirit of the Christmas holiday but does so while appealing to Christian, Muslim, and secular listeners (based on close scrutiny of the lyrics). I owe my appreciation of it to Sister Maria Magdalena Vallellanes at Felician College, whose version of it invariably made me cry on the rare occasions when I attended (i.e., was forced to attend) mass. (Just to be clear: I mean, of course, that the beauty of Sister’s rendition of the song made me cry.)

Enjoy. See you next year.

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