“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la”. Looking out any window around me these days I can see Christmas decorations everywhere. Halls are decked that’s for sure! Whether it’s the light glow of a Christmas tree, candles sitting in windows, or brightly lit and decorated homes around the neighbourhood, there’s no doubt about it, Christmas is in the air. Like the song says, “Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la”. But lets pause on that lyric line for a moment and ask; Are you feeling jolly?
Believe it or not, many people during this season might put on a smile to look jolly, but deep down inside they’re not feeling jolly at all. The pressures of the season only add to the pressure cooker of life that goes on around us every day of the year. This time of year – more than any other time of the year – is one of the loneliest times for some. For others, family time becomes rushed time as people scurry about in an attempt to not only see everyone in the family, but please every side of the family at the same time. For some the life portrayed in the 2008 movie “Four Christmases” is an every year occurrence. In the movie the characters portrayed by Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon find themselves spending Christmas Day trudging around to a quartet of family get-togethers. While Brad – played by Vaughn – counts the hours until he can escape the onslaught of crazy relatives, Kate – played by Witherspoon – begins to wonder about her own choices and ponders whether her family members are so crazy after all.
Distance seems to make Christmas even more rushed. We live in a time when many families do not live near one another. Families are scattered around the province, the country, or even North America! When you toss in travel time, the pressure seems to mount even more. I remember our Christmas Days as a newly married couple. For a handful of years my wife and I spent much of our time driving from one home to another trying to squeeze in as much family time as possible. When our first son was born we tried that for a couple more years. But when we moved to Rochester, New York we decided to get out of the holiday rush hour and begin making some traditions of our own.
One tradition that’s very important for us at Christmas time is remembering the real meaning of Christmas. While Santa and Rudolph are fun, this is also the time of year to remember the true meaning of Christmas. It’s been 50 years since the first appearance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” but I never get tired of one spectacular scene in the show when Charlie Brown asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” To which Linus responds saying, “Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights please?
“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 tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my 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, and good will toward men.
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.