I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s in a small Kansas community where everyone knew their neighbors and television was black and white. Yes, that dates me! In that community, during the 70’s, one of the few jobs available to a teenage girl was babysitting. Lucky for me, I liked kids, and did a great deal of babysitting. I really loved babysitting before Christmas, so I could watch the TV Christmas specials with the kids I was watching. You see, not only was TV black and white, our family didn’t own one! Now everyone has mobile devices you can watch movies in color and hi-def on through Netflix, but then it was different!
One of my favorite television Christmas specials was and still is, A Charlie Brown Christmas. The very first A Charlie Brown Christmas aired at 7:30 p.m. on the CBS Network and its affiliates the evening of December 9, 1965. It almost wasn’t, as the “CBS bigwigs” who first viewed it “hated it” for many reasons, according to Bill Nichols in his article “The Christmas Classic That Almost Wasn’t”, USA Today, posted on December 5, 2005. However, nearly 50% of the national’s viewing audience saw that first airing, and the reviews were positive. Today it is considered a Christmas classic and has become the staple of many family holiday traditions.
In the movie, Charlie Brown is troubled by the commercial trappings of Christmas, and when his small, pathetic Christmas tree choice is rejected by his friends for the Christmas program, he states with a sigh, “I guess I don’t know what Christmas is all about.” At that point, the lights grow dim, Linus takes center stage, and quotes, from memory,
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 (good news) of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, 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. (King James Bible, Luke 2:8-14)
Later, it is again Linus who finds the rejected little Christmas tree, sees the possibilities, and begins to decorate it, along with the other children who saw him and joined in. This tree becomes a symbol, of what Christmas is truly about; what the gift of Christmas truly is…..it is God’s love in the form of a baby, come down to be with us on earth….love that brings joy, a Savior, and hope! Love that transforms what seems small and insignificant, into something that is full of beauty, although sometimes with stops and starts. This is indeed, very “good news!”
All human being have the need to be loved and to give love. It is one of the 6 core needs of every person introduced by coach and speaker Anthony Robbins.
Dallas Willard, philosopher and spiritual director wrote in his book, Divine Conspiracy, “The condition of life that every human longs for is found in the quiet transforming presence of Jesus.”
How can you bring LOVE, the Gift of Christmas, to those around you this season? Here are some suggestions for you to consider:
- Take time once a week, or for a few moments at the end of each day, to turn off the lights in the house and sit in the glow of the Christmas tree, slow down and reflect on the state of your relationships. Could they use some expressions of LOVE?
- Consider what says LOVE to your friends and family and provide a small token of that for Christmas.
- Attend a Christmas music performance.
- Attend a Christmas Eve service at a local church.
- Consider God’s LOVE for you in providing the Savior, Jesus. Talk to a trusted friend, priest, pastor or clergy if you have questions.
I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas; one filled with the gift of Christmas – LOVE.