Monday, December 13, 2010

A soundtrack to Christmas

Looking for a soundtrack to Christmas? I would like to give a plug to transit jazz , a really talented group of musicians who take their inspirations from traditional Christian music, and well- and not so well-known Bible verses.

Their music is easy to hear and to listen to (ie it's nice to have playing at dinner, and stimulating to actually listen to), with vaguely familiar refrains which infuse a sense of the sacred with the profane (in the old sense of the word...).

Whether you hold strong Christian beliefs or not; if you like jazz, or if you would like to like jazz, have a look and a listen!

The sum of innumerable privileges

It is coming to that busy Christmas end of year season here.  In Australia, the weather really heats up, the temperature rising in tandem with the excitement of children anticipating a period of surprises and treats.  For me, Christmas is always a period of reflection and evaluation, as the year draws to a close replete with images of new life welcomed in surprising and unconventional circumstances, ancient promises made and kept, and the tenuous vulnerability of life and relationships.  At this time of year, above all others, I am acutely aware of being the sum of innumerable privileges.

"Of those to whom much is given, much will be expected."  I don't know the origins of this expression, but it has been a theme in my family for as long as I can remember; the implication being that those with talent or intellectual or material wealth have an obligation to give of themselves, and to make the most of their opportunities to unselfish ends.  And this is something I strive for.  And yet how can I hope to give in accordance with the abundance of privilege I have? Privilege I did nothing to earn or achieve.

I was born in a time of peace in a stable democracy.  I am a part of the dominant culture, speaking the dominant language.  I grew up in a loving and supportive family with many excellent role-models.  I received easily, willingly and happily an outstanding education.  I was blessed to have outstanding teachers.  I attended university with a minimum of fuss, and at a reasonable cost.  My gender is, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant.  I have excellent health.  My children are healthy, happy and amazing.  My husband grows more impressive - in thoughtfulness, character and integrity.  The debt I owe to life, or humanity, or the future is humbling.

I know that in the quest for an easy pun I was a bit of a meanie about Michael Grose in an earlier post. In fact, I opened my first can of blogging worms....but 'tis the season of good will, and he has a lot of practical, straightforward, and positive ideas.

Please enjoy this "Best Of" compilation which I received via email today. Also, if your appetite is whetted, he's now on Facebook (for those of us who indulge in that guilty pleasure....)