Discovering Life, Learning and Leadership

It was 6:40 am, Tuesday, December 7, 2004, and I was driving to the airport heading to Milwaukee and Toronto.  The airport drive was feeling more and more like a normal commute as I was thinking through the week ahead.  It seemed rather dark due to heavy cloud-cover. Traffic on Highway #91 was backed south of 72nd Avenue.  A few years earlier, this would have been considered a bad-traffic day. It had become typical.

I was not excited about another week away from home but was eager to meet our Creation Technologies’ team members in Milwaukee, Toronto and Mississauga and to enjoy dinner with a key customer in Milwaukee that night.  The week would include four Creation Forums, three chat times, two turtle-doves (just kidding) and a few other meetings.  We would be holding our Board meeting in Mississauga on Friday and I was deep in thought preparing for the days ahead.

Traffic was still heavy but moving better as I ascended the Alex Fraser Bridge, one of the largest and highest bridges in western Canada that crosses the mighty Fraser River.  Looking at the time, I wondered if I would make my flight.

I switched on the radio to check the traffic report.  I usually listen to Praise 106.5 FM. That day, I decided to try CKNW ‘News Talk Radio’ 980 AM which was the most listened to station in British Columbia and remains one of Vancouver’s top stations.  The traffic report confirmed an earlier accident at 72nd Avenue and Highway #91 which explained why I was running late.  There were eight other traffic incidents in the Lower Mainland but fortunately none of them were between me and the airport.  I would make my flight with a few minutes to spare.

As I was about to switch off the radio, Rick Forchuk’s “Media Buzz” segment caught my attention.  Now, I am not a big media fan so much of what Rick says, while entertaining, is of little interest to me.  That day was different!  Rick noted that it was the 40th Anniversary of the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” TV special.  I turned up the volume.

 

 

Charlie Brown has always been a favourite of mine, having watched the Christmas special yearly as a child.  It, and the movie “A Christmas Carol” (based on Charles Dickens’ book) staring Alastair Sim, are seasonal traditions.  In fact, I think everyone should watch A Christmas Carol at least once a year to help keep life in perspective.

Growing up, I enjoyed all the Peanuts characters (“Peanuts” is the cartoon series that features Charlie Brown).  Snoopy and Charlie Brown were my favourites.  Charlie Brown’s sincere desire to celebrate Christmas properly, the foibles of childhood that the characters struggled with, and the infamous ‘Charlie Brown Christmas Tree’ that despite great intentions was somewhat sparse, all hold fond memories.  Could it really have been 40 years since the show first aired?  Wow!  It’s a classic!

Forchuk was waxing eloquent on how the special was created, its early history and about how wonderful and enduring the story was.  I found myself agreeing with everything he said.  Few shows produced these days will be watched even a year or two from now, let alone after 40 years.

As I’m blogging this, it has been 47 years since the show first aired and it is still widely watched. Now, let’s go back to 2004.

As Rick was commenting on how popular the Charlie Brown Christmas special was, he made a major point that rang true in my heart.  He noted that the central theme included Linus (Charlie Brown’s best friend) reciting the true Christmas Story from the Bible (Luke Chapter 2).  Rick’s main point was that these days a Christmas TV special was more likely to feature Bart Simpson speaking rudely than it was to include the real Christmas Story.  Sad but true.

Today, many people wish each other “Happy Holidays” without realizing that the “Holidays” are more accurately really the “Holy Days” or, as Webster said, “a day for special religious observance.”

Now, I recognize that in our wonderfully diverse world, some of you will view Christmas differently.  I certainly respect and understand that.  I simply want to share with you my perspective on Christmas.

To me, the Christmas story remains the greatest story of all time.  It is the story of the greatest gift ever given, the story of God becoming a man, the King of all creation taking on human form and being born in a stable as baby Jesus. It is a story of great love and celebration.  It is because of this story, and God’s great love for us, that we have hope and a reason to celebrate at Christmas and every day of the year.  This Christmas, I encourage you to read Luke Chapter 2 and to think about why the world has celebrated Christmas for over 2,000 years.  I know of no greater gift that I could share with you.

From me and my family to you and yours, Merry Christmas!

Have you watched A Charlie Brown Christmas? Have you read Luke Chapter 2?

12 Comments to A Charlie Brown Christmas

  1. Janice's Gravatar Janice
    Dec 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Arthur, I enjoyed watching the show the other night and mentioned to the girls that it was one I would watch as a child after going out caroling in the neighbourhood. Thanks and yes I did read Luke chapter 2.

  2. David's Gravatar David
    Dec 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur, Reading Luke Chapter 2 is a Christmas morning family tradition for our household.Merry Christmas

  3. Ricky's Gravatar Ricky
    Dec 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur,

    I came to this country without faminly as a young boy during Christmas time and used to have mixed emotions about Christmas. The joy and celebrating atmosphere could not fill the emptiness and loneliness for a long time as I continued my life journey. The spirits of the seasons could not stop the silent tears from within. However, seeing the love, giving, and kindness from surrounding people to one another helped to heal my emotional wound. Now, I have been blessed with a wonderful family with two little angels given from above. Christmas time now will always be remembered as the beginning of my blessed opportunity to be here in the most wonderful country of the world.

    Merry Christmas to you and your faminly and may we all be kind to one another.

    Ricky

  4. Dan Shepard's Gravatar Dan Shepard
    Dec 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur,

    The most amazing gift ever given, Christ coming to earth to set us free. I have been reading Luke 2 to my kids for 28 years, and this year I get to read it to my new grandson, Nathan. I am very fortunate to be part of this organization, and am looking forward to a great 2012.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family

  5. Alex Urbano's Gravatar Alex Urbano
    Dec 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur
    Christmas is not widely celebrated here in China and only a couple of people we know celebrate Christmas in Changzhou. The impression of a few people about Christmas is that it is like a holiday celebrated for 1 week much like people do for Chinese New Year. The good news is that more people are asking about Christmas, maybe because of their curiousity about the culture and what we embrace as a Creation family. I think that it is a good start and I do hope that we will someday be celebrating Christmas in Changzhou as we do in other locations.

    Yes, I have read Luke Chapter 2. Cheers and Merry Christmas.

  6. Macie's Gravatar Macie
    Dec 29, 2011 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Arthur,
    I grew up in rural WV. My parents were awesome but financially our family struggled. Christmas time was especially hard. We were a family of 7; 5 children and 2 adults. I specifically remember one Christmas that we did not have any money for the Christmas feast. My father had many friends and one of them found out that we didn’t have any food or gifts that Christmas. This particular friend owned a grocery store; he opened his store for my parents. That Christmas is full of memories of kindness and love that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    I love the movie A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims. In fact, it is tradition for me to watch that movie when I put up the tree, decorate the house, and wrap presents. This Christmas, I watched it 4 times.

    I truly look forward to reading your Christmas blogs each year.

    Happy New Year!

  7. Jay Medina's Gravatar Jay Medina
    Dec 31, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    The most joy I found is talking to people in a respectful way and listening to them.
    In Christmas time this joy increases and the more I get in contact with people the more I believe in God’s great gift.

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