As is our family Christmas tradition, we watched yet again the wonderful Charlie Brown Christmas special that first aired in 1965, when I was all of five years old. I don’t remember that first one, but I’m sure I’ve watched it almost as many times as years I’ve been on this earth, and it never gets old, like me. What makes it so special, pun intended, is that in simple and profound ways it captures so well the pathos of human existence. Coming from the Greek for suffering or experience, and coined by Aristotle, the Peanuts gang are pure pathos, starting with Charlie Brown himself. His misery is hilarious, but hits home. Who hasn’t wanted to throw their own pity party when nothing seems to go our way, and nobody seems to care, and we know we shouldn’t feel that way amid the bright lights and joy of the season.

This is more of a challenge in this year of our Lord 2020, when hell has seemed to make a more obvious visit to earth than usual. I will spare the gory details, but we all know them, and all wish they were not as they are, but they are. Imagine, though, having to go through such a year without a hope that goes beyond this life. Imaging hurtling toward death as we all are . . . . and this is as good as it gets??? This is it??? We all know it’s not, but often live as if it is. Shame on us. Even back in 1965 when secularism was making its way to the pinnacle of the culture, but not quite there yet, the TV executives were pressuring Charles Schultz to pass on the now lionized Linus speech, What’s it all about. Thankfully, his Christian faith enabled him to him stand firm, and hundreds of millions, probably billions over the years, now know what Christmas is all about.

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