The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Friday, December 23, 2011

Somewhere in My Memory is a Silent Night

My brother Dave has just about recuperated from his hip replacement surgery; he's been staying with us since he was discharged from the hospital, December 8. He went home to sleep in his own bed tonight, but he'll be back on Christmas Eve for our family dinner. Barry and his family are on the road, somewhere between Jackson, TN, and Nashville. If the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, they should be in around 1:30 a. m.

It's getting to feel a lot like Christmas, even though we had rain all day long. Time for Christmas music.

I like this one. It's by John Williams and is from a famous and funny movie, "Home Alone." The song is "Somewhere in My Memory."
If you define "religious" as someone who follows a particular doctrine, you would not use the word to describe me. I was raised up in a church (and I'm glad for that), but I've spent a lot of time since then questioning that belief. This questioning was not bitter or angry (most of the time), but was done in an attempt to understand the ideas and principles of various religions. I'm not an atheist. Nor am I a faithful believer. Is there such a thing as a hopeful skeptic? Maybe that's what I am.

One thing is certain--I'm no scholar and I don't have all the answers. Matter of fact, I'm not sure I have any answers. But that hasn't stopped me. Over the years, I've read, thought, and led class discussions about the essential religious questions. Is there a God? What is His/Her nature? Is there an afterlife? Is morality possible without a belief in God? On balance, have the various religions (and their mythic structures) been harmful to civilization or helpful? I always found these questions and the answers that authors and students have proposed most stimulating.

I say all this as preface to the next Christmas song.

"Silent Night" is probably my favorite Christmas hymn. It brings back a happy memory from childhood: singing this song as part of a child chorus in a Christmas pageant in our old country church and understanding in my childlike way how important Christmas was and what it meant. Even now, in my 71st year, in my barnacled and skeptical dotage, I still feel very comfortable and content in the spirit that emanates from the melody and lyrics of "Silent Night." This version is by the gifted Andrea Bocelli.

Merry Christmas to any of my family who might read this. Joyce (I'm finally going to surprise you this year), David, Vicki, Roger and Lou Ann, Aunt Jo, Debbie and Mark, Larry and Judy, Sandy and Peter, and Helen and Joel. And all my other cousins and aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces.

Merry Christmas Ed (and Rae), Jeanne (and Max), George (and Sara), Bob (and Ellen), Andy, Buck, Deb, Staci, and Inno.

Merry Christmas to all my classmates and friends from Litton High, class of '58.

Merry Christmas to all my readers whoever you are and wherever you are.

And finally, merry Christmas to you, Joe Rose, you old scoundrel.


  1. Merry Christmas to you too, Dan. Thanks for Bocelli; I often put him on when I'm cooking and really enjoy his voice.

  2. I hope Barry and family had a safe trip, glad too, that David is doing so well.
    I too share your skepticism. I left the guilt about questioning behind a long time ago, but enjoy the merits of the season none the less.
    Here's wishing you and Joyce a great time with the family. Merry Christmas!

  3. Merry Christmas, Dan! To you, Joyce, and your entire clan go our wishes for peace, joy, and blessings.

    I'm not a skeptic, but certainly understand how one could be. Even though I've put aside some of my childhood Sunday School learnin', it's mostly just doctrinal.

    I won't get with "testifyin'" about why I'm a true believer here, because this is not about that.

    Thanks for your kind wishes, Dan. And, thank you for what you do here...for sharing your life, family, joys & struggles. It's an honor to be invited to stop by!

    Once again, Merry Christmas, my friend! Peace, and Joy be upon y'all.

  4. Bocelli is talented, indeed. I hadn't heard his "Silent Night" before, so thanks VERY much for that.

    I suppose you could say I'm a skeptic, too. I'm fond of sayin' "I acknowledge there's a god, I just don't know what his/her name is." And then I add sumthin' to the effect I hope her name is Phoebe, or Diana, or some such. Tongue in cheek, of course. Sorta.

    Merry Christmas to you, Joyce, and the whole family. I hope the season is full of joy and peace for all y'all.