Christmas is carols and children. At Christmas time the child-like senses of wonder and acceptance are awakened in us. As we sing the carols and tell the story we are reminded of our childhood memories. The gifts and the foods bring out the child in all of us. The mystery of the stories (either Jesus or Santa) challenges us to move past adult rationalism. Christmas calls us to be child-like once again.
Christmas is waiting and hoping. When will Santa come? When can I open my presents? When will the baby be born? When will the world be better? When will things be right again? We wait and we wait. But we wait with hope. Christmas reminds us to be people of hopeful expectation. Christmas reminds us to hope for the future. Hope is born at Christmas, and so we wait for birth.
Christmas is chaos and calm. There is so much to fit into the month. Parties and concerts and shopping and baking and special church services. Oh my! Chaos is part of Christmas. But there is calm too. There is the peace of the Christmas snow sifting down. There is the silence of the frosty nights. There are both in our story too. The calm of the traditional vision of the manger is shattered by the chaos of a newborn’s cries and the violence of an oppressive world. Christmas comes in the midst of our lives with chaos and calmness.
Christmas is life changing. Some of the chaos of Christmas is because if we take Christmas and the story of the baby in the manger seriously Christmas is life-changing. Birth means that the life beforehand will die. Life will never be the same again, for parent, for child, for everybody associated with the child. At Christmas we mark not just the birth of a child but of a whole new world. And while we wait with hopeful expectation for that birth, we also wonder what will need to die so that the birthing process comes to full potential. Christmas is life and world changing.
Christmas is light in the darkness. Even in the chaos there is calm. Even in the fear of change there is hope. There is hope because Christmas reminds us of light in the darkest times. It is Christmas. The nights are long and cold in midwinter. But then we hear a tale of light, we hear that those who walk in times of darkness will have light shined on them. The world will be changed. New life will be born. There is light and there is hope.
That’s what Christmas is Charlie Brown.