Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Good Grief - Christmas is Friday!

I love Christmas.  I've known people in my life who decorate for Christmas way more than I do, and I've known people who plan their Christmas six months in advance, way before I do.  I know a guy whose house decorations for Christmas put the local shopping centers to shame, and focused his whole year around decorating for Christmas.  Maybe if you saw me, or saw my barely decorated little house, you wouldn't think so, but I do love Christmas.

Christmas is unique among holidays in America.  It has a very strong Christian tradition (well, duh!) as well as very strong secular traditions, and I love them both.  I love giving gifts to loved ones - and even total strangers.  I love the old favorite songs and the whole feeling of this time.  People in retail will tell you that Christmas often determines whether or not they stay in business.  I'm sure you've noticed that news outlets report sales from the Friday after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) as if they're reporting scores from a bowl game.  Another part of the holiday is the annual struggle to "keep Christ in Christmas" and not overlook the spiritual side of the holiday.  I like to remind everyone there's actually a court ruling that says how many reindeer (three) a holiday display must have to remain "sufficiently secular" to be legal to display on public property.  If I'm putting on a public display and among all other other Winter Holiday symbols I have three reindeer on display, it's secular; if everything else is the same but it's only two reindeer and package of reindeer sausage, I'm obviously trying to convert you!  Does it get more stupid than that?  On second thought, don't answer that. 

Other than the perpetually aggrieved people who protest everything, who's offended by someone wishing them happiness?  For years, I used to run this video by Jackie Mason saying as "The Ultimate Jew" he wasn't remotely offended by people wishing him a Merry Christmas.  Now I could choose one from Dennis Prager, except this is half an hour.

A couple of weeks ago, in an email I just spent an hour looking for, the author said that all our lives there's been a secret hidden right in front of our eyes in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special from 55 years ago.  If you know the show, you know the scene where Charlie Brown in exasperation says he doesn't know what Christmas is all about and questions out loud if anybody does. 

When Linus recites the passage from Luke chapter 2 about the birth of Christ, he drops his security blanket right at the point where he quotes the angels saying, "Fear not." He drops his security blanket and doesn't pick it up until he's done reciting the passage.  When he finishes, he picks up his blanket to walk off stage.

For those of us who read Peanuts every day while growing up, I'd bet no image is as well-associated as Linus and his security blanket, yet he drops it on that cue.   A kid carries a security blanket because they're afraid.  He knows he doesn't need to be.  

As we plunge through the last days before Christmas, take time to enjoy it and your loved ones.  If you feel a need to get some perfunctory gift for someone you'd really rather not give to, I say don't.  That's some sort of bizarre social ritual, not Christmas.  Don't put yourself in debt for Christmas; even if it means the kids get a "meager" holiday.  It won't hurt them and may just help them.  If you're one of the 45% who recently said they'd just as soon skip the whole thing - I say skip it.  It's still a federal holiday, so you have that going for you.


  1. Years ago, after we first moved to Oregon, our new friends having learned that we were Jewish, told us they were having a Christmas party and would like to invite us if it wouldn't go against our beliefs.
    I told them, "Thank you very much. Of course we would love to come and help you celebrate the birthday of a nice Jewish boy."
    Not quite Jackie Mason, but the best I could do at the time.

  2. Charles Schulz was a world-class subversive, slipping that message into a TV show in plain sight, and getting CBS to run it every year for decades in prime time. And he wrote it in a way that made it impossible to remove.


  3. I never paid that much attention to the Charlie Brown Christmas show. I know I've seen that scene numerous times, but never caught Linus dropping his blanket, let alone the meaning of it.

    Thank you, SiG!

  4. The Christmas Season (over the years) has been one of loss of family members. So there is grief associated with this time for me. But overriding that is always a deep and abiding joy at the season. I'm with DRJIM. I didn't see the significance of Linus dropping his blanket until you pointed it out.

  5. I am in there with drjim and LL. I have not watched the Charlie Brown Christmas show that closely. What a wounderful statement that is.

  6. Linus receipts an interpretation found In most Bibles today read Luke 2:14 as: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
    The Vulgate Latin, which is St. Jerome’s synthesis of the original source texts commissioned by Pope St. Damasus I, triple cross-referenced against each other in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew in preparation for the eventual setting of the canon of scripture at the Councils of Rome in 382, and Carthage in 397, reads thusly:
    “…gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis”
    In English, in the Douay-Rheims translation thus reads:
    Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

    Read into the differences of translations.
    Merry Christmas, and become men of good will.