I’m blessed to have grown up during they heyday of the Peanuts comic strips. I just love the characters and their antics. During this stressful time of year, I often think of their holiday specials to keep myself grounded. The holiday season can be melancholy for many. Here in the Northeast, November can be an exceptionally gloomy, dreary month. We are all bombarded with manic holiday advertising that starts way too early. So I channel Charlie Brown.
At one point Charlie Brown says to Linus, “Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” Right now I’m in this spot. It is somewhat magnified by the fact I live in a suburb where much of the population practices excessive materialism. I was a child of privilege in that I was raised with morals, values, discipline, love, and manners. Money was something that was in short supply. I’m not complaining. On the contrary, it taught me a true appreciation for what matters most. But I feel for the “have-nots,” especially at this time of year.
So I consciously think about what Linus tells us in the Christmas special. He explains to Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about and ends with, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” I’m not here to make a religious pitch. Let me simplify. The scope of our national and worldwide news is full of sadness and tragedy. So many have so little. So many suffer so much. So many have so much. What little bit can one person do?
I will be honest. It galls me that millions, and I mean multiple millions, of dollars are being squandered on political campaigns. Couldn’t that money be put to better use? The homeless, the mentally ill, disease research, hunger? Those are just the tip of the iceberg. We pay loads of taxes and yet, do we see the money being spent properly? Never mind, not going there.
I’m increasingly discouraged by Facebook. FB has never been an “end all, be all” thing for me. I like it because I can keep in touch with folks. More and more I see posts about people showcasing their material goods and lamenting they don’t look as good as they did ten years ago. It’s a turn off. In the grand scheme of things, we won’t be remembered for a lovely diamond ring or the largest Christmas tree on the block. We will be remembered for the things we’ve done and for what we’ve done in relation to our treatment of others.
In fact, this post has taken a huge turn in my train of thought. I was prepared to write about far different things. But Linus is reminding me that I need to be the type of person that I’d like others to be. I need to focus less on life’s faults. I need not to think of those who would much rather have the biggest and the best. I need to embrace more people who are kind and do charitable things. And I need to find a better way to make a difference in this life.