It wouldn’t feel like Christmas at the Banner without the scraggly little tree adorning my office.
That little tree with its single red ornament hanging from its thin branches and a fuzzy blue blanket wrapping its base is a reminder to me each day of what Christmas is all about.
I’m not usually a big Christmas movie or music person, but “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Several years ago my wife bought me a replica of the simple tree our good-hearted hero Charlie purchased in that classic Christmas special and it holds a special spot in my office each year.
Charlie, like many of us this year, is having a hard time finding his Christmas spirit. He’s frustrated by the pressure of finding the right gifts, feeling left out when he’s not included in activities and overwhelmed with the whole commercialization of it all.
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel,” he remarks as he pauses from ice skating to talk with Linus. “I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.”
As he’s tasked with directing the annual Christmas pageant in an effort to get him involved and excited about the holidays he, as usual, finds his big heart leading him toward decisions the other kids don’t quite understand – like the purchase of this tree. The others see a scraggly stick with tiny branches and a few random tufts of needles. Good-hearted Charlie sees himself – a little different and a little off kilter, but in need of love just the same.
In the end the tree, just like Charlie and like so many of those around us, proves to be something much more special than it appeared. As Linus remarks “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”
There’s a lesson there for all of us, as the little tree in the corner of my office reminds me each day. Maybe things aren’t so bad. Maybe there’s something good deep down in all of us. Maybe we all just need a little love to make us shine.