I have several Christmas videos that I have shared over the past several years, including this one, which I hope you’ll enjoy seeing again.
If this video doesn’t make you smile and fill you with the simplest kind of joy, then your heart just might be two sizes too small. Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus done as you’ve never seen before. It is from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska . What began as a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area has now, much to the villagers’ shock, been viewed by millions all over the world.
Without any actual intention, my family and I visited four different museums in four different cities in four days. The Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore on Saturday (with exhibits built on a theme of hope), the newly renovated Renwick Gallery and its room-sized installations in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, New York City’s Cloisters Museum on Monday, and the Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Sharing the experience with my family was wonderful, but equally wonderful was the chance to share these experiences with a lot of people who also took time during this week after Christmas to go to museums. The crowds were large, particularly at the Renwick, but it was exciting to feel the energy of so many people in a room doing something together as seemingly pointless as looking at art. Philadelphia’s Barnes Collection was a gift from a scientist who believed that understanding art would make us better human beings and in doing so would make the world a better place. Dr. Barnes used his wealth to study and collect and teach others what makes art great and how an experience with art can change us.
I wonder if the children of Quinhagak, Alaska were changed by their experience with Handel. I’ve heard some describe their experience with the arts as being a pathway to the divine, a connection between God and man. What if Dr. Barnes was right about art being able to change the world too?
Happy New Year, with all of its opportunities to experience the sacred through the arts and become that much closer to what God wants us to be – peaceful, loving and creative.