Since this Season has a very special meaning for quite a few people, I thought I have to extent to you my felings about this truly most wonderful time of the year, unfortunately in a year which was not that good to a lot of people (at least I happen to know: the last blow was the demise of Christopher Hitchens, whom I was fortunate enough to have met in my years in US).
So, despite 2012 might look ominous enough in many ways for the weak and the unfortunate, this season makes me (and possibly most of us) somehow better, stronger and, sometimes, even wiser. Music in this period becomes or at least sounds so beautiful, meaningful and fulfilling, even for the non christians. It's not surprising that the two most successful songs of the american songbook were written by two Jews, namely "White Christmas" (Berlin) and "the Christmas Song" (Mel Torme). In our immediate family, we have a believer (to the Unknown One, not technically a Christian), a Buddhist (my Chinese wife) and a semi-atheist (my first son, the other one is too small, anyway). However, it's amazing how we all (and particularly my wife) enjoy every little song, music, tradition and activity that has to do anything with the Nativity. In this period, anytime we open our door and go out, we cannot see people that we don't love.
So, since I cannot send you my greetings in any traditional way, I dedicate to believers of all kind of music two less familiar songs from the american songbook: "(Christmas) Stay with me" of Cy Coleman to some poignant lyrics of David Zippel (for all those who are destined to spend these Days alone and lonely) and "All those Christmas Cliches" of Stephen Flaherty and lyrics of Lynn Ahrens (for those that need this new connection with the old partners in life).
For those who stick to the Classical realm, I always turn to this very intimate, introvert, lyrical but so substantive work of the otherwise loud, extrovert and passionate Berlioz, i.e. L'Enfance du Christ.
Finally, for all the big variety of non-believers (from the religiously indifferent to the feverishly adamant atheist), I trust Schubert might be the right one for this very vulnerable and volatile years. So, I turn to you the Allegretto in c minor, D. 915 or the Andantino (in f sharp minor) from his penultimate Piano Sonata in A major, D. 959. Both express (at least to me), in the most abstract sense, the difficult, sweetly painful transition from a part of our life that is going for good and welcome the new bold and unknown segment of our life to be.
Merry...Christmas (for those who still believe) and Happy Seasons Greetings to everybody, fellow members of these forums. Let's our Life becomes a positive statement in a very negative environment, national or international, and let's listen to more music to keep us politically or socially alert and musically vigilant.