I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas wherever you are. I’m sure you probably weren’t expecting a post today but it’s still a Monday and so post I must.
The thing I was going to talk about today was the two sides of Christmas. Some people really love Christmas and some people genuinely fear it. One of the things that some don’t like is the enforced jollity of the situation. But at least you can call them scrooge.
One of the things about Christmas is the themed art. Christmas films, music and to a lesser extent artwork get wheeled out again year after year. The worst of them are schmaltzy and sickening but the best of them have the ability to show both sides of this holiday.
In film we have the ever perennial It’s a wonderful life. I do love this film despite some rather saccharin moments of heavy handedness from Capra. The performance from James Stewart is sublime.
The other Christmas movie that I love is one that you can kind of watch any time of the year and most wouldn’t realise it was a Christmasy film is When Harry Met Sally. A great film. Especially for people who would love Woody Allen, but have a moral objection to him. I myself have no objection to him – but there are those out there who do.
My favourite Christmas song is Fairytale of New York which does ideally combine the two sides of optimism and sadness that can go with Christmas.
And my favourite Christmas carol is The Coventry Carol which deals with the sadness that the women faced knowing that Jesus had been born. The story goes that Herod the King was so worried that a rival to his claim was being born that he went and killed the first born children of everyone. Of course Jesus had been whisked away into hiding in Egypt. But the song speaks of the sadness of all of the mothers whose children have been killed. But also they have the knowledge that it is for a higher purpose.
My favourite piece of art associated with this period is linked with the last story, and it comes from William Blake (he of the poetry). He was also an accomplished painter, but this painting is wonderful because of its simplicity. It is a painting of Madonna and Child while in hiding in Egypt, but because it has the pyramid in the background it can’t help but look a little bit like a holiday snap.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to one and all.