We understand why Charlie Brown gets a little depressed during the Christmas season.
If you're one of the few people who hasn't seen A Charlie Brown Christmas, here's a quick primer. Charlie Brown is worried that he isn't excited as Christmas approaches in part because of the commercial nature of Christmas. The gang's antics include Snoopy decorating his dog house in a holiday lighting contest, Charlie Brown directing the school Christmas show and a sad little Christmas tree that just needs a little love and attention. Just when Charlie can't take it anymore - the pressure, the expectations, the commercialization - he throws down his megaphone and asks if anyone knows the true meaning of the holiday.
Linus and his security blanket take center stage to recite the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus as told in Luke 2:8-14.
"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."
When Linus finishes, Charlie Brown and his friends gather around the Christmas tree and sing a beautiful rendition of "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."
If Charlie Brown was depressed about what Christmas had become in 1965, imagine the way he would feel 48 years later. Christmas shopping now begins around Halloween with Black Friday expanded into a three-day Black Friday weekend. There are many who feel the birth of Christ, the reason for the holiday celebration, gets lost in all the hoopla that Christmas has become.
Yet, much like Linus being put on the spot, the reason for our celebration cuts through commercialization like Rudolph's nose on a foggy night. Christmas is a holiday wrapped much differently in 2013 than it was in 1913, or even in 1965.
Its core has always been the same. It is still a holiday that emphasizes the family and all the wonderful traditions that can get lost in today's busy world. As much as we probably spend more than we should during the Christmas season, we also find ourselves awash in the desire to help our fellow man during the holiday season. For all our love of disagreement in nearly any arena, Christmas is a time when we all want peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
How we celebrate has changed over the years, but what we celebrate has not.