We're back from our trip, and done with Christmas for another year (and I hope to have more to say about both in coming days; the trip ended up being better than I anticipated, while Christmas Day itself, while not exactly like the one I wrote about yesterday, wasn't bad either). I've always thought it a little sad that there's such a buildup to Christmas, and then it's gone. The handful of days between Christmas and New Year's Day are always a time I enjoy, because you're just playing out the string before hanging up a new calendar and everything begins anew.
It's in that spirit I offer this essay about my favorite Christmas-themed television special, courtesy the folks at the AV Club. For me, the really moving part came with these words in the closing, which resonated with thoughts I've had about life's melancholies and minor keys, and the glimmers of light in life's darknesses:
A story doesn’t have to have actually happened to be true. Every word of the Christmas story doesn’t need to be literally accurate for its underlying sentiments—peace and hope and joy—to still speak to us, just as no one would ever argue A Charlie Brown Christmas is non-fiction, but it touches something deep and true in many of us. The great old Christmas carols—“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” or “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” or “What Child Is This?”—are all in minor keys, because they express the world’s longing for something better. Yet life will never be perfect. Even when that something better comes along, the minor key never really goes away, just as the melancholy never quite seeps out of A Charlie Brown Christmas, even during the sing-along at the end. But where those songs and the Bible verses that inspired them look to the heavens for the miracle that will lead us forward, A Charlie Brown Christmas invites us to look to each other, to gather together during the darkest nights of the year and create our own kinds of light. The days will start getting longer again eventually. We just have to wait.