Tis the season for an overabundance of Christmas shows on television. Leave it to a feel-good Hallmark Christmas movie with a perfect happy ending to bring out the Christmas spirit. Popular shows like “Shrek the Halls” and “Elf” are funny and seem to play over and over in our house. As for me, I will always prefer the old Christmas cartoons I watched as a kid. There is nothing that says Christmas like cheering on a puppet-animated Rudolph or watching Kris Kringle grow up to become Santa in “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”

But my favorite by far is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

A classic line from the cartoon occurs when Charlie Brown goes Christmas-tree shopping and picks the smallest, most pitiful tree on the lot and says, “I think it needs me,” as half of the few remaining needles fall to the ground.

Charlie Brown’s friends laugh and call him a blockhead for picking such a scraggly, pathetic tree. As a surprise to their friend, the children turn it into a beautiful Christmas decoration, and begin singing “O Christmas Tree” before Charlie Brown shows up shocked by the display. His ear-to-ear smile proves his decision was wise. In the end, the children were given a chance to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

I love the idea of this simple, imperfect tree representing the pure joy of Christmas. As parents, we sometimes get sucked into the world’s expectation of creating a perfect Christmas with a beautifully decorated home, clever homemade gifts, a Christmas card with beautiful children dressed in matching outfits and, of course, a perfectly shaped Christmas tree decorated with beautiful ornaments.

I live in the real world, and I know that my home doesn’t look like Pottery Barn, toddlers can be fussy on picture day and by the time kids are 8 years old, the pretty ornaments have been replaced with the ones made out of popsicle sticks and gallons of glitter.

The only perfect Christmas happened more than 2,000 years ago in a dirty barn. The little Charlie Brown Christmas tree helps me remember how imperfect I am. Somehow creating the perfect Christmas letter and decorating the prettiest cookies fades into the background and I realize how through the birth of a baby, that scraggly tree can become a beautiful, perfect Christmas decoration.

I wish you and your families a very Charlie Brown Christmas and a wonderful 2015!

Anne Blankenbiller

Anne Blankenbiller

K-12 & Teens

Most of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent driving the kids here and there—and then back to here again. Every child is a gift on loan from God. As parents, our job is to raise that child to be an independent adult who can contribute to the world using the gifts and talents he or she was given. It is hands-down the most important job on earth!

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