The Christians and the Pagans

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.

As far as I’m concerned, Dar Williams’ song “The Christians and the Pagans” gets to the heart of what the holiday season is all about. To me, it’s not about anyone’s birth, or establishing that one’s religion is right, or even gifts and cookies — it’s about gathering together with the people you love. It’s about recognizing our similarities and realizing that our way is not the only way. It’s about learning from one another and living together in peace. It’s about celebrating what we believe in, whether it be Christmas or Solstice or something else.

In a way, “The Christians and the Pagans” is a song for the holidays. It’s unlike any other holiday song I know — not about Christmas, or the snow, or reindeer. It’s not about winter, or trees, or Santa. But it fits the holidays, just as it fits the rest of the year. It  isn’t about celebrating a particular religion; it’s about respecting a diversity of religions and systems of belief. It’s about realizing that our religions shouldn’t divide us. It’s about coming together and sharing what matters to us. It’s a fun song, upbeat and happy, but it also has depth, communicating a message of unity and good will among people.

“The Christians and the Pagans” has always been of my favorite Dar Wiliams songs, which is one of the reasons why I chose it as my senior solo with my a cappella group (the Acabellas, the charming group in the video below — aren’t they loveable?) last spring.

3 responses to “The Christians and the Pagans

  1. I am physically unable to listen to this song in its entirety without bursting out into streaming sobby tears. Not because it’s a sad song, but because it’s just that moving to me. It got stuck in my head the other day when I was in the shower, so I started singing it to myself. Next thing I know I’m awkwardly standing in my shower naked, sobbing uncontrollably. Somehow the line, “Because when Christians sit with Pagans only pumpkin pies are burning” gets me every time.

    This year I spent Christmas with Matt’s family in philly (since his mom is Catholic and all of her siblings and her father and cousins and essentially her whole family live in philly and actually celebrate Christmas unlike my family). Only his poppop goes to church anymore, but the whole family gathered for an open house style buffet lunch at his aunt’s house. Even though I never celebrated Christmas as a child, and it wasn’t even my family I was with, it was really nice spending the day with them. I really felt like we were just having a good time as a community and eating really yummy food together and that, for me, is what this season is all about. As Dar says, it’s about “drawing warmth out of the cold.”

  2. Pingback: Dar Williams in Saint Paul! | Beyond Bryn Mawr

  3. Pingback: Dar Williams: “The Christians and the Pagans” | Beyond Bryn Mawr

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