Xmas Spirit Translates Better in Foreign Tongue: Keillor

Writer 'feels the religious fervor' at Spanish mass
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2008 7:14 PM CST
People dressed Santa Claus cross Fifth Avenue near St. Patrick's Cathedral during the annual Sidewalk Santa parade in New York, Friday, Nov. 28, 2008.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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(Newser) – Garrison Keillor is no Scrooge, but can find it hard to get the Christmas spirit, he writes for Salon. In New York for “the general dazzlement and variety,” and a holiday unbound by obligations of small-town homogeny, Keillor finds Yuletide spirit in a Spanish-language mass at St. Patrick’s: “It brought back memories of Christmas Eve in Copenhagen 20 years ago and how beautiful the sermons were before I started learning Danish.”

Not knowing the language allows Keillor to simply feel the religious fervor emanating from those around him, untainted by disagreements he might have with the sermon. “Maybe Luther and Calvin were dead wrong and literacy is not the key nor an understanding of Scripture,” he writes. “Maybe the essence of Christmas is dumb childlike wonder and the more you think about it, the less you understand.” (Read more Garrison Keillor stories.)