Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where are you, Christmas spirit?

The Charlie Brown Christmas special is a traditional family show watched in households across the country for years and years, and my kids and I always look forward to it. It is a fun cartoon to watch, but also a great reminder about how we can all lose our Christmas spirit, yet remembering the reason for the season will help us to find it again.

When Charlie Brown was walking with Linus through the snow to go ice skating, Charlie aired his feelings about the holidays to Linus:

"I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel . I just don't understand Christmas I guess. I like getting presents, and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed."

Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown? Wondering why you used to love the holidays, but now they seem more of a duty than a delight? Do you ever feel like something is missing? Like maybe Christmas is just not what it used to be?

Or maybe you know why your Christmas spirit has waned, but you do not know how to change it or get it back. Maybe it does not look the same as it once did, due to children growing up, families changing, divorces, remarriages, or the loss of loved ones, and as a result, you just do not have the same feelings about Christmas anymore. The passion is gone.

One of my favorite songs during the holidays is Where Are You Christmas, sung by Faith Hill. It fits in perfect with the feelings that Charlie Brown was feeling as he struggled with his emotions about Christmas. Here are some of the lyrics to that song:

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Just like is described in this song, Charlie Brown knew in his heart that something was missing- he just didn't know what.

All he knew, was that he longed for the joy and enthusiastic feelings that other people seemed to feel around the holidays. He wanted to know what had changed and where his Christmas spirit had gone. He just wanted to enjoy Christmas again.

The other day my teenage daughter said with a sullen look on her face, "Mom, it just doesn't 'feel' like Christmas. It feels different than in the past."  It was as if Charlie Brown's statement above was spilling from her lips. Although she could not quite put her emotions into words, I understood completely what she was saying. I remember being her age, when Christmas began to "feel" different, seem less exciting, and more "ordinary".  When the magic of childhood innocence is gone, and the wisdom of adolescence kicks in.

Her comment gave me an opportunity to remind her that life changes as we grow up, but Jesus remains the same. The thrill of celebrating His birth has to come from our hearts, not from our traditional practices. Her comment opened the door for us to both to refocus on Christ, not just Christmas.   

Linus reminded Charlie Brown of this truth as well, and helped him to see that what was missing from his Christmas, was the fact that they were celebrating the birth of the Savior, not the holiday season. He reminded Charlie, that Christmas was about Jesus - nothing less and nothing more. Just Jesus. Glory to God on the highest, and peace on earth. Let's take a look at his speech:

(email subscribers will need to visit my homepage to view the movie clip)

Linus is a shining example of how the faith of one person can help other people rediscover true Christmas spirit. His passion about Christmas, made other people feel passionate about Christmas too.

In today's society, Christmas is under attack from every angle. We are universally discouraged from keeping Christ in Christmas. That is why we are told in 1 Corinthians 16:13, Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (NIV)

As long as we carry the real reason for the season in our hearts and minds, nobody can ever take it away.  Growing up, changing families, problems of life and the influences of a fallen world will always be a reality - but Jesus Was, and Is, and Always Will Be - and He is the reason we celebrate.

Through standing up for our faith, and sharing the reason we celebrate, we can give the gift of Christmas spirit to someone who knows that something is missing, but just needs someone to help them find it.

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Pam said...

"The thrill of celebrating His birth has to come from our hearts, not from our traditional practices." That's it. I have so many traditional activities associated with Christmas that I have found myself not "feeling it" when one is left out or changed or disturbed in some way. CHRIST is the reason for the season no matter what traditions we have in place or don't have in place.

Thanks for the gentle reminder today, Tracie : ) I have loved your posts on Christmas movies!

Christmas blessings to you and yours,

Tracie Miles said...

Thanks Pam! Merry Christmas!

Donna said...

I needed to hear this today! My Godly parents were murdered in their home this year. Christmas seems almost unbearable to me right now even though I know they are worshiping at our Savior's feet. Thank you for your blog!! I have been writing about them in my blog but it has been very difficult lately.

Janet said...

Always keep Jesus in the forefront

Anonymous said...

I love the Charlie Brown Christmas show. I love the fact that Mr. Schultz could bring God into the main focus of Christmas . Now it is trying to be elimated from the politically correctness of today. This is so sad. I love when Linus reminds us all what Christmas is all about.