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where does magic come from?

December 7, 2009

My brother introduced me to Dar Williams many years ago.  He had been telling me about this Christmas song that wasn’t a Christmas song. 

“No, you have to hear it.  Here, I’ll put it on.  Just listen.”

But you know that thing that happens when someone wants you to listen to a song, and they play it, and you are listening to it, and then – because they’ve heard it already and they know what it says – they might talk to you while you are listening to it, and then you don’t hear all the words?

Like that.

Eventually, I did hear the song, and became a big Dar fan.  Her voice and her songwriting complement each other beautifully.  This clip is live, so not quite as sweet and clear as a studio recording, but there is raw power to live performance that I find compelling. 

My favourite part is when Jane talks about finding magic. (Lyrics below)

(Update: oops, I didn’t realise YouTube had disabled embedding on this.  It’s worth a listen – click through here.) 

The Christians and the Pagans

Amber called her uncle, said “We’re up here for the holiday,
Jane and I we’re having Solstice, now we need a place to stay.”
And her Christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang Mary on a tree,
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three.

He told his niece, “It’s Christmas Eve, I know our life is not your style.”
She said, “Christmas is like Solstice, and we miss you and it’s been awhile.”
So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able.

And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said,
Sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses.
The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch,
‘Til Timmy turned to Amber and said, “Is it true that you’re a wtich? ”

His mom jumped up and said, “The pies are burning,” and she hit the kitchen,
And it was Jane who spoke, she said, “It’s true, your cousin’s not a Christian,
but we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share,
And you find magic from your God, and we find magic everywhere.”

So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able.
And where does magic come from?  I think magic’s in the learning,
‘Cause now when Christians sit with Pagans, only pumpkin pies are burning.

When Amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, “Really, no, don’t bother.”
Amber’s uncle saw how Amber looked like Tim and like her father.
He thought about his brother, how they hadn’t spoken in a year,
He thought he’d call him up and say, “It’s Christmas and your daughter’s here.”

He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, saw his own son tug his sleeve, saying,
“Can I be a Pagan? ”  Dad said, “We’ll discuss it when they leave.”
So the Christians and the Pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able.

Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. catherine permalink
    December 10, 2009 2:15 am

    Nice! She reminds me a bit of Regina Spektor.

  2. Jet permalink*
    December 10, 2009 3:42 pm

    I’ve not heard Regina Spektor – i’ll have to give a listen. I like finding new music!

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