For Christmas we’re going to move our curated playlist over to The depressed Disneyland dad at Christmas when his ex has the kids playlist. This list is also known as a brief contemplation on the mysteries of solitude at Christmas.
O Magnum Mysterium - Morten Lauridsen - Kings College
The list is subdued and reflective instead of loud and celebratory. Now, I love Christmas favorites such as Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and Kay Starr singing December, but there is an element of contemplation within the season that is easy to lose in the celebration. This playlist is for a quiet evening next to a modest fire.
I’m not here suggesting that you ask the baby Jesus to come into your dark little heart. I am suggesting that you take some time to consider the mysterious. We can open this up beyond the traditions of Christianity if we consider other miraculous births.
Kay Starr - December (Christmas)
The virgin birth of Jesus comes to us from the traditions of Christianity and Islam. The virgin birth of Horus and Ra come from the Egyptian tradition. The virgin birth of Perseus is from the Greek tradition. The virgin birth of Lao-Tzu is from the Chinese tradition. The birth of Buddha may not have been of a virgin but the divine entering his mother is clear. Buddha's mother is also considered “the best of women.” Of all these traditions, the birth of Christ is the most recent.
What we have is a global tradition of the divine being birthed out of the pure feminine, out of the feminine untouched by the masculine. This concept exceeds contemporary ideas of gender roles.
There are feminine and masculine attributes which need to come into balance in order for awareness to increase. Some examples of feminine and masculine qualities are cyclical time (feminine) and linear time (masculine), receptivity (feminine) and direction (masculine), mystery (feminine) and logic (masculine).
For most of our known history the masculine has been out of balance with the feminine, yet in these births the pure feminine is of equal importance to the masculine babes which bloom out of the feminine. It is as if the ancients are telling us that balance between the two is of great importance.
Entry number six on the playlist is O magnum mysterium (“O great mystery”) by Morten Lauridsen and it is a peak of the Christian tradition of the divine entering human consciousness. The cathedral setting along with Lauridsen’s harmonies combine to create a holy experience — even across the synthetic mediums of video and the internet.
Perhaps we can all invest ourselves with some mystery during this holiday season and stop worrying about the prominence of different traditions — except for the most prominent of all traditions. Commercialism. "F" commercialism.