It’s hard to believe, but as I write this we’re just an hour away from December 23rd. Christmas Eve Eve, as it’s always been called in this family. When we were kids this was where the excitement hit fever pitch, but for adults this is where many of us most feel the stress. Still lots of shopping and baking left to do, some decorating left to finish, some cleaning to get done, and a whole lot of wrapping waiting for us in some hidden, guarded chamber. It’s right about now that it becomes perfectly obvious whether or not we still have the magic of Christmas in our hearts, or have slipped toward some Grinchiness.
I realize we’re all different, and the things that spark Christmas joy in one of us may well be the most glaring example of crass commercialism to another, but I still feel led to offer a few of the greatest Christmas moments that have lit up our lives in the past 40 or 50 years, just in case they light a candle in your world too.
The first is entirely predictable for anyone who knows me at all, but how could anyone possibly not love the great dance scene from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special? This show is, in my mind, still the greatest half hour of television ever created. Touching. Funny. Wise. Foolish. Poorly voiced and rushed into production, yet brilliantly perfect in every frame. The team thought they had failed miserably on the night it went to air. They had to let it go with many things left rougher than they wanted, and they braced themselves for very poor reviews. There’s a lesson in there for all of us; sometimes even when we’re sure we are failing we should still press on; we may be on the verge of our greatest moments. Do happy endings get any better than this?
The next is also from a Christmas children’s special, but rather than enjoying the rebirth every year that Charlie Brown has seen, this one has not been seen (as far as I can tell) for the past 20 years or more. It was the first of two Christmas specials from the wonderful Muppets, and it featured several touching performances by John Denver. We have played the album, and then the cassette tape, and then the CD, and now the MP3 in our house for the past 25 years or more, but the video is long gone, except for a few clips I’ve recently found on YouTube. So here’s one of the more captivating moments for me, as John Denver tells the story of Alfie the Christmas Tree, and It’s in Every One of Us. Beautiful lyrics. There’s magic here.
It’s hard not to toss in a second moment from that special, so here is the equally magically Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, sung by John Denver and Rolf:
And now, just one more children’s video to wrap up the journey through my favorite Christmas TV moments. This one is also predictable for anyone who knows me. It’s Linus’ recitation of the Christmas story, taken directly from Luke 2:
So there you have our four moments of Christmas magic. It would seem that the whole world is aglow with the joy of the season, and every heart is filled with cheer. Sadly, even the children know better, and no children know it more than the children in this last video. It’s a collection of gripping images put to the music of John Lennon‘s grand Happy Xmas (War is Over). Unfortunately, it could not be embedded here, which means you’ll have to click on the link to watch it on YouTube. But if you want a reminder that there’s still much to be done, and still many needs to be met, this video will do it more powerfully than you may have bargained for:
But before you go, let me say a sincere Merry Christmas to you and yours. Please leave your greeting below, and enjoy the season, share the magic, embrace the laughter, and appreciate the food. But also remember the needs, and all those who still seek their moment of cheer.
May God bless us… every one.