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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 12/25/20

Good morning and Merry Christmas,

Wishing all of my Christian friends a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Christmas is a holiday that is interesting for Jews. As a Jew, I welcome and revel in the celebration of Christmas in the same way as I respect and celebrate Muslim and Hindu friends celebrating Eid and Diwali. At this time of year, the holidays offer a welcome reminder that we can all celebrate different traditions, while respecting them all.

As a Jew on Christmas, one is used to jokes about our “special” ways to celebrate—going to an uncrowded movie theatre and eating Chinese food (well, this year, it’s “turning on Netflix and ordering Postmates”). The love many Jews have for Christmas extends to the music. I still can sing (well, my version of singing) any number of Christmas carols I remember from fifth grade choir. Back in the day when we listened to radio stations, one heard Christmas music during “drive time” from Thanksgiving through the new year.

It’s no secret that many non-Christians harbor jealousies of this joyous holiday that goes beyond the music, the food and the lights. The holidays bring a sense of shared celebration and good feelings and a much-needed “breather” to count our blessings and commune with family and friends.

As a child, I recall my father playing Santa at my elementary school. When I walked up to Santa, I said “Hi, Dad” and told him that he didn’t fool me. Later I asked him why he played Santa. He smiled and said, “This way, I let all the Christian fathers enjoy being with their kids when they meet Santa.” From him I learned to enjoy the Christmas season, in large measure because it brings such joy to other people.

And then there are the movies. I have two favorites. The first is A Christmas Carol, in its various incarnations. My favorite version of A Christmas Carol remains “Scrooge” (the musical version), starring Albert Finney. The second is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, a classic that brings a tear every time I watch it (particularly when Jimmy Stewart’s brother shows up at the end and toasts him—“to my big brother George, the richest man in town”).

If Capra or Dickens brings a tear to your eye and you’re looking to feel good while watching a beautifully filmed movie, thy Armando Iannucci’s ThePersonal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel and a multi-racial cast. In the end it all “comes together,” as most Dickens does, in a delightful fashion. As for Capra, there hardly is a more apropos movie in these fraught times than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

A very Merry Christmas to all and a happy (and less eventful) new year!

And in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us all, every one.”


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