“Harry, I think it’s Christmas Eve”
One of my favorite scenes from the seventh Harry Potter book, and one of the most poignant:
Harry and Hermione have gone to visit Godrick’s Hollow, the village where Harry was born and where his parents died. It’s midnight, and it’s snowing, and the music of carols drifts from the little church.
The two young wizards don’t have any background or education in Christianity, though the Wizard School celebrates the holiday with Christmas trees and feasting and vacation ( much like the non-wizarding world of real time). Still, they know the sacredness of the time. Hermione reads the inscription from the Potters’ gravestones: the last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. She conjures up a wreath of Christmas roses and places them on the tomb, as Harry weeps. It’s such an English Christmas scene. This makes the very next scene so much more alien and horrific, when evil shows its terrible face.
Anyway… I started to write about my ten favorite Christmas carols:
1. In the bleak midwinter
2. Ding dong merrily on high
3. Once in Royal David’s City
4. Bright Day Star
5. Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning
6. I heard the Bells on Christmas Day
7. People, Look East
8. In Dulci Jubilo
9. The Holly and the Ivy
10. Deck the Halls
I love the way these carols are sung. I love the harmonies. I love the lyrics. Maybe these favorites derive from my many years of listening to the festival of nine lessons and carols from King’s College, Cambridge; they certainly categorize me as an Anglophile!
Wanted to add some recipes here, too:
Date Cookies ( 100 year old recipe from my mother's friend Molly Stauffer)
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vinegar
2 cups sifted flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 lb. Pitted dates ( I cut them up with scissors)
1 cup black walnuts chopped ( regular walnuts work just as well)**
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Mix well.
Add soda and vinegar.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt. Add to the wet mixture.
Add dates and nuts.
Drop on greased cookie sheet.