Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don't Forget Your Sames

Tonight I will watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for the umpteen hundredth time.

The pleasures of this classic are well documented: The Snoopy Dance, The Skating, Catching Snowflakes on Your Tongue, The Tree ...

Vince Guaraldi's beyond-brilliant iconic score.

But what always brings me back and never fails to get me is Linus's explanation to Charlie Brown of The True Meaning of Christmas.

Lights, please.

I am the least religious person you are ever likely to meet. But seeing that simple little drawing intone in a piping child's voice, utterly devoid of irony, the "Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy" passage from Luke 2:8-14 from the King James edition, makes me want to dash to the local church and empty my pockets.

It is without doubt one of the most magical moments in the history of TV.

In this age of phony baloney "War on Christmas" style self-serving hype, it's easy for cynical sorts like myself to crawl ever deeper into our cynic caves and roll the cynic boulder in front of the entrance and never stick our cynical heads out again. Easy and fun!

But I know better. And every year Linus puts me back in touch with the part of my brain that knows better; that knows whatever differences in this or that belief (or lack thereof), there's still genuine kindness and beauty in most places and in most people's hearts. Sometimes we're so busy shouting each other down over our differences, we forget our sames.

Differences shouldn't trump sames.

And that might not be The True Meaning of Christmas, but it will do, Charlie Brown.

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