The Right Coast

December 24, 2005
English Christmas
By Maimon Schwarzschild

Here is this year's Service of Lessons and Carols from King's College, Cambridge.

While you listen, you can read more about the service and about King's College here. Note the link to the PDF file of the (elegantly printed and laid out) Order of Service at King's.

On a slightly different note, Christopher Hitchens offers these warm and nostalgic Yuletide thoughts:
[T]he whole business [i.e. Christmas] becomes more vile and insufferable — and in new and worse ways — every 12 months. It also starts to kick in earlier each year: It was at Thanksgiving this year that, making my way through an airport, I was confronted by the leering and antlered visage of what to my disordered senses appeared to be a bloody great moose. Only as reason regained her throne did I realize that the reindeer — that plague species — were back.

Not long after I'd swallowed this bitter pill, I was invited onto Scarborough Country on MSNBC to debate the proposition that reindeer were an ancient symbol of Christianity and thus deserving of First Amendment protection, if not indeed of mandatory display at every mall in the land. I am told that nobody watches that show anymore — certainly I heard from almost nobody who had seen it — so I must tell you that the view taken by the host was that coniferous trees were also a symbol of Christianity, and that the Founding Fathers had endorsed this proposition. From his cue cards, he even quoted a few vaguely deistic sentences from Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, neither of them remotely Christian in tone. When I pointed out the latter, and added that Christmas trees, yule logs, and all the rest were symbols of the winter solstice "holidays" before any birth had been registered in the greater Bethlehem area, I was greeted by a storm of abuse, as if I had broken into the studio instead of having been entreated to come by Scarborough's increasingly desperate staff. And when I added that it wasn't very Tiny Tim-like to invite a seasonal guest and then tell him to shut up, I was told that I was henceforth stricken from the Scarborough Rolodex. The ultimate threat: no room at the Bigmouth Inn.
There is more, of course, much more, from Hitch.

Happy Chanukah!