Tim Minchin’s song that was cut from the Jonathan Ross Show:
At Washington and Passyunk, I spotted what looked like a leftover Halloween scarecrow sitting in a deck chair outside a row house. It was a middle-aged woman, a ringer for Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. More here.
This is a beautiful Austrian carol the choir sang at last year’s Midnight Mass. I can’t believe I never heard of it until now:
Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow. For all is hushed, the world is sleeping. Holy Star, its vigil keeping. Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow.
Sleep, sleep, sleep, ’tis the eve of our Savior’s birth. The night is peaceful all around you, close your eyes, let sleep surround you. Sleep, sleep, sleep, ’tis the eve of our Savior’s birth.
Dream, dream, dream, of the joyous day to come. While guardian angels without number watch you as you sweetly slumber. Dream, dream, dream, of the joyous day to come.
I hope Athenae (who’s one of my very favorite writers) doesn’t mind that I stole her entire post, because it’s all of a piece and I really want people to read it:
The days are dim and cold and short. I think that’s what it is.
I think that’s why we drape our homes in strings of stars and light the fire and invite people in: Gather close, because your warmth keeps out the wind. Our traditions date from times when winter meant death, when winter meant the very old and very young and very ill were felled sooner than expected, and a community could expect to lose its weakest members and, if they weren’t careful, its strongest as well.
As we still can, in many places. As we still do, so very close to home.
Every year, I complain about the cold, about the inconvenience of travel in the snow, about the seeming endlessness of the overcast sky, but winter speaks to me like a muscle-memory, knit into some deep German part of me that knows that cold outside is imperative for warmth within.
It’s an instinct I obey: Prepare. Stock up. Reinforce the window frames, unroll the rugs, take the thickest blankets out of storage. Bake bread and make stew and chili and fill the freezer, just in case. The pantry is full of seasonings and supplies. Is this all those Little House books I read? There are two grocery stores within walking distance and we live on the second floor; we’re in no danger of being snowed in. Our traditions are about interdependence: Share what you have, because that way everyone has enough. Maybe I just want to have enough to share, so that if you come to the door I can feed you.
(If the Detroit Lions came to the door, I could feed them. We won’t have to grocery shop until June.)
I want to gather everyone in. We’ve had a steady parade of houseguests since Thanksgiving: The only point to having more than one room is to fill the others with people you love. I feel that way about this place, too. Why have this room unless it’s full of people? The Secret Santa thing made me so happy, because it showed me and the rest of the Internet how much you care about each other. I’ve always wanted to have a house full of people like that.
Especially now, when it’s dark, and the wind is howling outside the door.