The Eleventh Day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..


Ah Dear Reader, what is this all about, this gift giving? What can give more pleasure than reading a good story, one that lasts for hundreds of years. The Christmas story has lasted two thousand years. Ponder the element of truth, real events retold for each generation. Books. Precious artifacts like paintings and sheet music and documents that endure because enough people keep them safe from fire, wind and weather and of course, war. Much has been lost that we will never know, like the hundreds of plays from the Golden Age of Greece. How we cherish the handful left to us by fortune.

Today, my gift is a beautiful moment from a splendid film. When the legendary King Arthur wakes from lethargy and follows his destiny to be a great leader, a force for good in a barren world, he rides forth with his followers and the trees and fields blossom in his wake.

This Christmas season ends on Sunday, the twelfth day, but it will return in due season and the next as long as it is not lost, swallowed up in a retail world full of “me-first” grabbing and tearing at soon-to-be-obsolete “presents.”

Go forth, brave one, and change the world. Or at least keep the best of the one we still inhabit. Where I teach the students have T-shirts with the saying by Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I would like to see one that says “Keep your values; treasure the good things.” This is just another side of the same coin, verdad? We can change, or at least put on our armor and fight the slippery degeneration of all that is noble and good, like truth and loyalty and honor. People who make art, like this beautiful film, Excalibur, (you can watch the whole movie on YouTube) are brave makers of statements about the war between good and evil that began at the beginning and continues today, amplified by the media that tells us just how ugly things are. Bless the artists who follow the quest for the grail. At this special time, the best gifts are hope and prayers and these are things you do not have to stand in line or fight other desperate consumers to get. As a song that has endured says, “The best things in life are free.” Here’s to “pipers” everywhere. keep piping!