As many of you know, I regularly turn to the comic strips for wisdom.
As Christmas approaches, the classic Charlie Brown Christmas is still the best. We are struck with a bombardment of Christmas shows across the networks and cable TV, each telling a heart-warming story.
The sitcom shows also air Christmas specials. MAS*H did some outstanding episodes – can you tell I’m an oldtimer?
And in each one of these shows we are shelled with commercial after commercial peddling their product or service. It’s enough to make you gag.
But it is what makes the world go around! Like it or not, it’s all part of the rich society we enjoy and take too often for granted.
We hear from many who complain bitterly that Christmas is too commercial. Charlie Brown even complained about it decades ago, especially when Snoopy won first prize for decorating his doghouse.
Today, the Christmas decorations are going up while the Halloween decorations are going down.
Years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was celebrating Christmas in my bearskins – just kidding! – it was different. So very, very different!
When I was a kid, Christmas started around Dec. 20 and it was all over after New Year’s. Only a week or 10 days!
Now, we have Christmas decorations up on Nov. 1, parties in mid- to late November, and celebrations well into early or mid-January.
It is a bit much, perhaps even for the most loyal of Christmas worshippers.
The church tries desperately to keep Christ in Christmas, while being run over by Locomotive Commercialism. It runs full steam ahead, purging over religion with a zest to buy, buy, buy, and sell, sell, sell!
But taking Christ out of Christmas cannot die and it will not die because Christ is Christmas. It’s as simple as that.
There are other aspects of Christmas I enjoy. Like many others, visiting with family and friends, a few days off to recharge, and – yes – enjoy a few of the spirits I will partake of. My uncles always make sure they have some of the good stuff when I visit. Good guys, those uncles!
I ask you to reflect and ask yourself what you like best about Christmas besides the recognition of the birth of Christ? Parties? Shopping? Christmas lights? Sitting beside the fireplace? A roaring fire outside on a cold winter’s night? Riding in a sleigh pulled by a team of horses?
I think Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes fame has it right. He is resting with his stuffed tiger Christmas Eve. They are by the fireplace relaxing. Calvin is reflecting on Christmas and his best friend. Like any six-year-old, he can’t wait to get his presents. But … he concludes, “Tomorrow is what I’m waiting for, but I can wait a little more!”
Perfect! That moment of total tranquility! The moment of total peace when everything is done: the shopping, wrapping, visiting, cooking, et al. Time stands still.
I used to go to the Festival of Trees in the old hospital and just sit and enjoy the total beauty of Christmas, the soft music and total peace. Total tranquility! Nothing left to do but wait for the big day. After weeks and weeks of bustle and hustle, many of us let out a big sigh and enjoy the fact it is over.
But we are so wrong. In fact, Christmas is just beginning. It is the reason for the season.
How ironic is that!
May your Christmas bring you that same tranquility and peace.