Unsolicited, unwanted or unforwarded Christmas cards and gift catalogs keep coming to my temporary abode in the president’s house at Minnesota’s St. Olaf College. I paged through some of them the other day and found that the almost universal greeting now has nothing to say about Christmas. Just “Happy Holidays!”

Then I heard the deservedly famed St. Olaf Christmas concert. The words the choirs sang couldn’t have been more different from the blandness of the card and catalog greetings. They were creatively jarring, realistic and, hence, Christmassy. I mused about what the anthems address and the catalog greetings avoid.

Tree of David terribly cut to ground lay in her ashes. In the catalogs, all the terror necessary to the plot disappears in an unthinking “Happy Holidays!”


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