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A Denney for Your Thoughts – Message worth more than ‘Peanuts’

Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the Dec. 20, 2005, issue of The Erwin Record. In it, Denney takes us on an interesting holiday trip – her first viewing of the holiday classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

By Connie Denney

Am I the only one over the age of 3 who saw “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for the first time this year? Maybe that is how television specials become tradition. Not only are there those who watch the same shows over and over, there are others who – for whatever reason or no reason – are first timers.

A friend’s incredulity at my revelation of never seeing the famous Peanuts special planted the seeds for this writing.

Commercialization of Christmas was the offense the namesake Peanuts character found so disconcerting in the seasonal special. Conservation today (now more than 50 years since “A Charlie Brown Christmas” originally aired) indicates that situation has not been remedied. Some would say it is worse.

But we have choices. The giving of gifts seems an appropriate tradition for the season. Many people enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts. Perhaps it is the spirit in which it is done that makes the difference.

If the hubbub of shopping, figuring out what to buy for whom becomes more of a chore than a blessing, perhaps that is a signal to pause and put it all in perspective. Overly commercialized? We don’t have to buy that line.

Today Charlie Brown might have additional furrows in his brow.

Disconcerting elements include rumblings about whether the greeting should be “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” Either greeting from the heart with a smile can be joyous. If it is not from the heart but a matter of political correctness or store policy, maybe – again – we need to examine motives.

Another real interesting rumbling is the talk of closing churches for Christmas. What is there to say about that one?!

Admittedly, I probably have not heard all the points of view about commercialization, greetings and/or church closings, but I have heard enough, because these “rumblings” remind me of a phrase by Dad (a quiet man) used, “unnecessary racket.”

As for what Christmas is all about, Linus (the one with the blanket) reminded Charlie Brown by quoting from Luke 2:8-14: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around 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 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 manager.

“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.”

Acceptance of the latter can make the former fall into place. Attention to what Christmas is all about puts “unnecessary racket” in the proper perspective.

Seeing Christmas as a time of choice puts the temporary in an eternal context.