Christmas Peace

Christmas Peace


Christmas Peace

As we near Christmas, I am struck by how old the world is, how little it has changed, in spite of our celebration that a new world was beginning in a manger in Bethlehem. The reports from the news of tragedy and turmoil throughout the world continue to shout down my “Christmas cheer.” Especially the images from ..

Lessons and Carols

Lessons and Carols


Lessons and Carols

On the last day before Christmas break, campus chapel had a brief service of Lessons and Carols–a bit of proleptic Christmas joy in the midst of Advent repentance and expectation. The music was both solemn and celebratory and included bells, guitar, clarinet, violin, piano, percussion, upright bass, and organ. We cannot share the music here, but the outline of the service and the special collects written for the occasion are reproduced below–a Christmas gift to you, our readers


Macy’s, Handel’s Messiah, and a random act of hyperspace


Macy’s, Handel’s Messiah, and a random act of hyperspace

By now, it has been making the email and Facebook rounds many times over: The Opera Company of Philadelphia hides in the Center City Philadephia Macy’s on Saturday, October 30, and during the height of the busy shopping day breaks into an “impromptu” performance of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” It was a “Random Act of Culture,” funded by the Knight Foundation as a campaign to bring “classical artists out of the performance halls, into the streets – and our everyday lives.” The only reason we know about it—and have “seen” it—is because it was posted on YouTube. And in the weeks since it has gone, as they say, viral. Three years ago, I wrote in a more academic venue about the experience of Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular as an experience of cultural “transgression.” It seems that a similar…

Starbucks Coffee and the meaning of ritual

Starbucks Coffee and the meaning of ritual


Starbucks Coffee and the meaning of ritual

I gave up my Starbucks addiction a long time ago. (In a previous life, the Webster/Old Orchard Starbucks was a near-daily stop on my way to work until I realized that it was part of the reason I gained 25 pounds and lost most of the cash in my wallet.) But I couldn’t help seeing Starbucks’ still new ad campaign while I was recently in the airport. “Take Comfort in Rituals.” Does it bring to mind visions of a hot cup of chai?