Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blogging Around: The Christmas Edition

Via Arts Everyday Living where there is interesting
 information about Dickens and his most famous story

Heather Ordover is sharing a book from her premium feed which she calls "audiobooks with benefits." You get her interesting and insightful commentary before and after the chapters (staves) are read aloud. It really enriches the understanding of the story. The CraftLit iTunes feed has these or you can pick them up here:

... Santa doesn't prepare you for disillusionment—he prepares you for belief. He's a kind of training-wheel Jesus, presenting aspects of faith in a manner that kids can handle.

"If the Santa story is a type of the Jesus story, [it] persists because the Jesus story is true," Dr. Edie wrote."It is true because it reveals that all life ultimately comes to us as a gift. It is true in proclaiming that the receiving of this gift occurs in the sharing of it. It is true in its testimony to the powers above...as benevolent, close at hand, and definitely not us."

In other words, Santa is like a stage set. At a certain point, it is rolled away, revealing a story still more impossible to believe, where the sun shines, the trees glisten, and the presents patiently wait beneath theJohnston's tree.
Rich Cohen, WSJ essay Learning That There's No Santa Taught Me to Believe
I never understood the idea that finding out there was no Santa taught you to distrust grown ups or religion or anything. Perhaps that was because my parents steadfastly denied any claims that they were Santa until we were old enough to let it go ourselves. I was fairly old as such things go before that happened. And then being let in on the secret and allowed to participate in giving that joy to my younger siblings made it a sacred trust. That's why I like this piece which I found a bit meandering in the middle but which brought it home in style.

I came across this story after having a big success reading The Gift of the Magi to my mother-in-law whose on-again, off-again dementia made it difficult to connect with during visits. She stopped gazing into the air, met my eyes intently for the duration of the tale, and asked me to read to her again when it was done.

Buoyed by my success I went looking for other such simple tales to read. It didn't take long to find Papa Panov's Special Christmas which intrigued me because of the famous author. It quickly became one of our favorite stories and was the last one I read to her before she died.

So it touched me when I saw that The Christmas Stocking podcast is featuring a reading. You don't have to listen. You can read it at Google Books.

Joseph Susanka offers us a holiday special: the Oscar-nominated, BAFTA-winning version of Raymond Briggs’ “The Snowman.”

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