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Upcoming events:

Dec. 14, 7 p.m.  candlelight worship/concert  First UMC
                         Pittsburgh, PA

Dec. 24, 8 p.m.   Christmas Eve service
                         Third Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh PA
                          5701 Fifth Ave.
Improvisation on "O Come, O Come, Emanuel"
with saxophonist Robert Brooks

 This week on the blog:    Friday, December 6, 2019

What happened to Christmas?

For several years now, I have been watching with interest the doings of the little people atop our entertainment center as each December they enact a series of strange variations upon the traditional Christmas creche. No sooner had I adjusted to their peculiar games of sheep tossing or thrilled to the dramatic attempt of the wise men to arrive on the proper shelf in time for Christmas than I got sued for letting our cable box too near the stable. That was last year. By then, I had already gotten to talk to Mary and Joseph by email--a delightful couple. I am not the grudge holding type, and fences were mended with a very large Christmas cookie. I was already looking forward to next year's adventure when a very regrettable thing happened.


One of the cast members did not make it back into the box for storage last year. We noticed him some time in February, peering timidly out from behind a plant. It was too late to retrieve the box, packed snugly into its regular storage position. Instead, we tried to make him comfortable until he could join his fellows. He kept a diary, and has allowed me to publish excerpts from it. First I had to copy it to several times its original size. The entries are enlightening. Alas, they do not cast us humans in the best light always. But even--perhaps, especially--at Christmas, it is worth reflecting on the views of a small person on the society in which he involuntarily found himself, fish out of water, a figure without a tableaux, creche-person without a creche, in the long year between Christmases:

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At this most festive time of year, it behooves us at Pianonoise to continue our series about how legendary composers spent their Christmases. Today we look at the yuletide of one Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky, who...

What? You aren't dying to know this?

Actually, the story is fairly well known, at least if you attend symphony concerts and read the program notes. For the other 99 hundredths of you, perhaps you will be touched, maybe inspired in some way by the events which are about to unfold in the telling. But believe me, dewey-eyed romantics, the snow falling outside the window at the Moscow conservatory is about the only thing about this story that is not ugly. So for those who do not want their Christmas cheer interrupted by a harsh dose of (albeit someone else's) reality, or for children under 10, we recommend skipping this page and watching some nice dancing hamsters for a few minutes instead. We'll wait.

For those of you intrepid souls who wish to continue, here are the sordid facts:

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Each Christmas a little drama unfolds atop our entertainment center. To you it may be just the same old Christmas story, with some people in a barn having a baby and a cast of handfuls looking on adoringly. Well, it may be the same old boring story to you, but it depends on how you tell it.

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Who's telling the story?

the Christmas story you've never heard


Maybe there weren't dinosaurs at the first Christmas, but we can fix that....  

[t]here's one thing that I do enjoy every year. Not the Christmas carol parodies, or the Night Before Christmas parodies, or all the radio stations playing Sleigh Ride 45 times a day for a month and a half. It's something our Bible study group does the last week of the semester. We go to the local Toys (reverse R) Us and boy toys for kids who might not get any this year because their families are on hard times.

This year I went with a dinosaur. Not just any dinosaur, mind you. This one was over two feet tall! With a very pink tongue! And scary all the same, even if he had just swallowed a vat of Pepto Bismol.

enjoy blog

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