Christmas 101: Back to the Basics

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If my doctor cuffed my arm before Turkey Day and then today, on the first day of December, I am confident she would think I needed a massage, a bottle of wine, or heavy medication. Like most of you, my stress level sky-rockets from the cooking, shopping, addressing, cleaning, wrapping, primping, gifting, etc. I love this time of year but all the commercial stuff wears a mom down. That is why I am deciding to go back to the basics with Christmas 101 this year.

I heard it announced on the radio as I put the minivan into reverse after my 1 ½ hours at the gym on Monday. My mind wanted the full 2 hour session following Thanksgiving weekend but my body said “Nope. You ate too much pie, Sweetie. You’re done.” All sweaty hot and freezing cold at the same time… because who wears jackets to walk from the fitness center to the car in Arizona, even if it is only 48 degrees out… I buckled up, pushed the ignition button, quickly flipped the switch for the seat warmers, and tuned into the lady speaking over the air.

“Tonight the Peanuts’ A Charlie Brown Christmas will be showing on t.v.,” she publicized.

Sweet. Let’s do it. That seemed much more kid friendly in language than Home Alone from the previous night. During that flick, I lurched forward off the couch pointing my finger at the screen while looking at the kids explaining ‘that wasn’t nice’ to almost every word said in the first ten minutes. (I do not recommend watching that show with young, impressionable kids.)

Then, the reporter went on to explain how this Peanuts’ 1965 American Christmas cartoon classic almost never existed. I never knew that. This holiday family favorite movie got criticized for being too simple, too off-beat with musical standards at the time, and too religious. However, after the first night it instantly became a hit with Christmas celebrating people of all types, ages, and backgrounds.

Why?

It must be Snoopy and his antics or Lucy’s strong will, right? But, dare I say it, the answer lies in Linus’ response to Charlie Brown’s questioning if anyone knows the true meaning of Christmas? Linus recited Luke 2:8-14 from the King James Bible:

            And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

            And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

            And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

            For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

            And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

            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, good will toward men.

That is it, simple, sweet, and to the point:

The True Meaning of Christmas.

If you find yourself losing touch with truth, purpose, or your blood pressure this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the principles of why you are celebrating Christmas in the first place. If you need redirection,  maybe take the family to a Christmas Eve service at a nearby church. Most parishes offer non-denominational times the night before Christmas promising peaceful candle light, joyous singing of carols, and a message of hope. If that is too “churchy” or religious,  maybe download Charlie Brown and his friends. The message of great love and great joy can be found. You just need to look, listen, and find it.  If you need help finding a Christmas Eve service to attend, please message me. I am always willing to assist a friend.

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