Wednesday, December 12, 2007

and that's what Christmas means

We are currently at T-minus-thirteen-days … and counting.

That seems to be the opening message broadcast to everyone at the start of every day until Christmas morning.

Believe me, the planning process for this holiday exceeds most NASA projects. So far this year I have attended two Christmas parties, two Christmas dinners, a secret-Santa event that spans two weeks, and numerous snack festivities.

And that is just at the office!

There is still the company’s children’s Christmas party on Sunday, and a luncheon the middle of next week.

I find it difficult to believe the news that this is actually a very depressing time of the year leaving many to feel left out.

I must be hoarding everyone else’s Christmas celebrations. And I feel bad that I am.

The other night, the old classic “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” cartoon special was on. We all remember the peanuts gang dancing to that great jazz riff that really has nothing else to do with Christmas except that Schroeder plays it over and over again on this show.

I actually love that jazz riff.

Then all the kids make fun of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. And Linus steps out into the spotlight on the dark stage and hits us in the face with the truth of the matter:



"And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men,'" Linus says.

"And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

It is amazing this show identified this commercial delusion of Christmas fifty years ago.

And fifty years later we are drowning in this delusion, even deeper than before. Artificial tinsel trees now are fiber-optic. And the greatest tragedy is that this special show, this special moment of the show – has become a parody of itself, losing it’s poignancy.

I admit that I really do love Christmas in our western flare. I love hanging the lights outside, trimming the tree, and getting my little girls all revved up for the holiday. I love the parties, the feasts, and the traditions of Santa, reindeer, caroling and mistletoe.

But every once in a while we must stand back from this gala – this month-long extravaganza – and remember “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace and goodwill toward men”.

So as you’re celebrating these next two weeks – please – stop and remember those words. And share them with everyone you meet – even if as casually as saying:

Remember that speech that Linus said in Merry Christmas Charlie Brown?

Oh yeah”, may come the reply. “How did that go?

And you can wow your friends and say “it ended with – ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace and goodwill toward men

Amen.

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