Making Sugar Cookies with Handel

Don't worry! I'm only listening to Part One of Handel's "Messiah", the one with "shepherds abiding in fields" and basses intoning "peace on earth" with fugal "good will". In fact, now that my disk of dough is cooling in the fridge, a jaunty and slightly slap-happy chorus is singing some rumpus about "his yoke being e-e-e-e-e-e-e-easy" and "his burden being light", signaling the end of the Christmas portion of that famed oratorio and the start of whatever random track Fate has in store for this foggy December afternoon.
PictureAnd it's George Winston. The irregular 5/4 of "Some Children See Him" mixes today with the sound of Numi snoring on his bed in the kitchen like a tiny, adorably annoying lumberjack and Kathy's contractor Wilson hammering and sawing the front deck. Tonight the cookies are going to be one of the main attractions of a holiday party hosted at our house. Having friends over is a great way to get in gear and clean up a messy house, and I'm excited to see what else Jessica has been madly preparing for what's sure to be a great evening. I'm told there will be a chocolate fountain, though I'm dubious as to if it will work or not. This same Christmas iTunes Mix will be playing tonight, filling the house with Handel and Winston, Sinatra and Celtic Women, the American Boys Choir and Mannheim Steamroller, and many others.

The days are just flying by and with it a deep musical tradition that I can't get enough of this year. There's something about winter that makes this season particularly special to me: the PT tips tea, scarves, awakening the dawn, seeing your breath in a puff of nose-thawing heat. I like to consider the ancient peoples, particularly of Europe, who considered this an auspicious time as well. The sun was dying and with it all things green and warm, leaving ice and chill and darkness. And what a darkness-- with no street lamps or matches or lap top screens to give you a clue as to where or who you are. Darkness and desperation. So they built huge fires. They offered sacrifices. They charted the stars for the solstices. They gathered together for warmth. They sang songs and rang bells to keep alive their hope.

We're doing something the same tonight. Perhaps there is less fear of wild beasts and crop failure, but there is hope and a thankfulness. There is celebration. The frost of Narnia's winter (yes we did see that last night WITH French subtitles of course) will thaw. The sun will come again. Love will not die. And to remember this we will have friends and Handel and cookies in the shape of Handel (ie, very plump, round, and with German/Italian/English colored sprinkles).

"Il est nee le divin enfant!" Merry Christmas everyone.

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