The New York Sun[Shine!]

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Some of you may have read or seen the somewhat-recently popularized newsstory of young Virginia O’Hanlon. There’s a movie and book that came out not too long ago documenting the story in an endearingly artistic way. As I’ve mentioned before, the 2009 movie Yes, Virginia is the story of a young girl questioning the existence of Santa Claus. As a pragmatic young lady, Virginia wrote a letter to the New York Sun and the ensuing response has been a legacy for Christmas ever since. Check it out! This is a copy of what has, apparently, become the most re-printed newspaper article of all time.

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What I really like about the story of young 8-year-old Virginia is the idea that, by simply setting a few lines of type for an editorial, Francis P. (Pharcellus!) Church, the journalist who wrote the response, shared a brightness and positivity that I wish there was more of in the media today.

I stumbled upon a blogpost recently from a site called The Dignified Devil and I loved the way the author, Gregory Smith, describes Francis Church’s response to Virginia. “His example stands against the cynicism of every era, a caution against the magnetic pull of strict logic and constant serious-mindedness . . .”

If you hadn’t heard this story, I hope you find it as sweet and heartening as I did. Although I never believed in Santa as a kid (or as an adult, for that matter!), there is something beautiful in an established Army journalist and serious newspaper editor taking time and ink to perpetuate the magic and beauty that is so often lost as childhood becomes adulthood. Remember that “The most real things in the world that neither children nor men can see . . . Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

That is a truth I celebrate wholeheartedly this season.

Psalmody: A Benediction

In the spirit of this wonderful Christmas season, when I am reminded of what abundant blessings are in this life, I want to share another psalm/hymn from the old church Psalmody I found tucked away in my parents home! One of the most beautiful elements that I love about this benediction is the emphasis on relationships and community. This year I am so completely thankful for my family and loved ones.2012-05-19_22-58-10_221

Not Your Average Christmas Special

I know I’ve mentioned my love of Christmas Television . . . well, there is one movie that doesn’t get as much positive holiday PR as your typical Christmas special. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning, particularly if you’re in the mood for a little holiday action movie goodness.

Die Hard
Forget Santa

Don’t believe me that this is a Christmassy Flick? Check it out:

Give it a watch. It’s guaranteed to be significantly more fast-paced than your typical viewing this time of year. Enjoy!

Christmas Music!

In my family, growing up, it was treasonous to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. For some reason, even though I hated this as a kid, it’s something I hold to pretty firmly in adulthood. Thanksgiving deserves to be observed without Christmas getting all up in its business, you know?

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That said, once the Turkey has been served and the clock strikes midnight, when others are hauling rear-end to the malls for Black Friday deals, I am queuing up the KING of all Christmas playlists. In honor of this tradition, I thought I’d share some of my absolute favorite Christmas songs, just in case you need to expand your own playlist this year.

#1 – Christmas Lights by Coldplay

#2 – Carol of the Bells by The Pentatonix

#3 – Baby It’s Cold Outside by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone

#4 – Petit Papa Noel by Julien Neel

#5 – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Vince Guaraldi (from the Charlie Brown Christmas Album)

#6 – The Twelve Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser

#7 – Silent Night/ Away in a Manger by Relient K

#8 – All I Want for Christmas Is You by Olivia Olsen (from the Love Actually soundtrack)

#9 – Blue Christmas by Elvis

#10 – Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong

#11 – Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt

#12 – White Christmas by the Drifters

#13 – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee

#14 – Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms

#15 – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland (from the film “Meet Me In St. Louis”)

#16 – Carol of the Bells by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

#17 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by The Jackson Five

#18 – The Little Drummer Boy by The Jackson Five

#19 – God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman by ScottBradleeLovesYa (Acoustic Electro Swing Hip-Hop Version)

#20 – O Holy Night by The Glee Cast

Hopefully that is a good bit to get you started, if not through the next 9 days until Christmas music again becomes off-limits! Happy Advent to you all!!!