Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Just Not That Into It

I'm just not that into getting gifts this year for Christmas. Two events have me twisted about this traditional part of my holidays past that I usually really enjoy, having fun opening surprises on Christmas morning. First, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in January, had surgery, and went through chemo. She is doing well and the cancer is quiet and gone for now. I am so grateful. She and my dad just told me they want to travel to the West Coast to share Christmas with us, and we were able to get a good fare! I am so glad to be able to celebrate with my parents again this year. Pure and simple. Material gifts seem small in comparison. The second thing is the suffering that continues with the folks in the New Orleans area. Even though there is not much I can do to help at this time, it just feels disrespectful to want more when so many have lost so much. So, I'm content with what I have. I have so much. Plus, I did get this new computer (and a free Ipod) this fall --- a budget buster, but had to have it to continue my job. Practical and fabulous. Satisfied in heart and soul. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Complaints about Christmas

It is the official Christmas season, now, with Thanksgiving over. Already I've heard others complain about being busy, not being ready, etc. And it is not even December yet!

It is Christmas -- a celebration of Christ's birth on earth. Jesus was born. Simply born. He didn't wait for us to be ready. Good move. In fact, it was also a busy time with everyone going to town to register to be taxed. Seemed like all the bed and breakfasts were full, so it must have been a busy, bustling, scene, too. So busy that Jesus was born out with the animals, who simply get along day to day.

No one got up at 4:00am to be at the store by 5:00am to get the right gift at an unbelievably low price. In fact, just the opposite. I hear that the wise men came two years after Christmas with their gifts. Now, sales are announced constantly on TV and we get a pile of catalogs daily. Jesus was announced by angels. And not to the shoppers to come take advantage of this can't be beat deal, but to the down-to-earth shepherds at work. They freaked out, but then made their simple way to Jesus to see for themselves.

So, I'm all for enjoying Christmas and keeping it simple and sweet. I can say no to offers of more activity before my schedule causes me stress. I can say yes to traditions that are meaningful. I can find the beauty of this time in so many quiet moments, and in time with loved and friends. I can have lots of holiday fun and decorate our home. I can make choices and avoid the crazy momentum this month seems to demand. I can choose to celebrate the birth of Christ in a variety of ways, public and personal, making this a memorable season to rejoice in our redemption. The world went on its busy way and most were not even aware of the babe born in Bethlehem. Just those that were listening in the fields and watching the night sky. Peace on earth.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Quote of the Week

"There will always be an audience for innocence in this country." —Charles Schulz

That is a refreshing thought, and it could be very accurate. I came across it as I was wondering when "Charlie Brown's Christmas" will be televised this year. I have watched that cartoon special almost every December since 1965, when I was in fifth grade, age 10. I still enjoy it to this day, own the video, and hope to get the DVD perhaps this year. I think the quote above answers some of why I enjoy it. I also love the music and the falling snow. I am often "snowsick" at this time of year...wishing for snow, though I now reside in a climate that would not permit such a weather event. I miss snow from my Midwest roots until about mid-January.

So, doing a web search for the 2005 broadcast, I found more information about the show that was interesting to me. At, I found out that the critics saw no value in this show, but the viewers made it a big hit...

"The basics of the cartoon were laid out within a few hours. It would include ice-skating; a pageant (Mendelson and Schulz had both flubbed parts in school shows); a mix of Christmas carols and Guaraldi's contemporary jazz; and the message that Christmas is really about the joyful miracle of Jesus's birth. Schulz wanted 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' to have the religious meaning that was central to his own experience of Christmas. And though the special was made in California, Schulz wanted it to include snowy scenes that recalled his native Midwest.

Even Schulz admitted that he was probably the only person who could have gotten A Charlie Brown Christmas made. Television executives hated it from the start. It was criticized as being too religious—Linus quotes straight from the King James Bible (Luke 2:8-14). It was criticized for featuring contemporary jazz, an offbeat choice for a cartoon. It was criticized for not having a laugh track. It was criticized for using the voices of real children (except for Snoopy, who was voiced by animator Melendez).

But it was an instant hit with viewers and reviewers alike. On Thursday, December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas was seen in more than 15 million homes, capturing nearly half of the possible audience. That week it was number two in the ratings, after Bonanza. It won critical acclaim as well as an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program and a Peabody Award for excellence in programming." -- from FactMonster