Thursday, December 17, 2009

What was Old is New Again

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

We're at the heart of the Christmas season, which means we're in the thick of the "War on Christmas" and are inundated by the overreaction to this "war". For some reason we think our circumstances are unique. We look around and think our culture's morals are worse than they have ever been. And we are hyper-sensitive to criticism or even just contrary opinions. And for some reason, the image we often portray is that of the 1950's white picket fence America where 'Christians were Christians, and non-Christians were too." But not long after this utopia was the upheaval of the 1960's. Darn hippies.

Tuesday night ABC aired A Charlie Brown Christmas, the second-longest running Christmas special on Network Television (beat out by only a year by Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer) which first aired in 1965. I'm not ashamed to admit we bought the box set of Charlie Brown holiday specials a year ago and we've already practically worn them out. My children are quick to run up and press play after any movie finishes, but sometime the menu screen isn't the 'top menu' but is the menu for Special Features. These Charlie Brown DVDs are an example of this. So they come running in wanting me to fix it, because what 4 and 2 year old wants to watch a "making of..."?

The first time this happened I was surprised as they were talking about the negative backlash they received for having the nerve to quote scripture (Linus' famous reading of Luke 2). Producer/director/and snoopy actor Bill Melendez tried to talk Peanuts creator Charles Schulz out of including the scripture. CBS executives were hesitant to air it. And the public response was as expected.

This was in 1965. It could be argued we have much greater freedom today when we televangelists can be found on multiple channels, political pundits on both sides of the aisle who aren't afraid to reference their religion, and movies such as The Passion of the Christ being commercial successes. Yet we still feel this insecurity whenever anyone has a different opinion than what we consider "mainstream Christianity" which some of us believe should dominate our culture and every facet of society.

For those of you fighting in the latest go-around of the War on Christmas, hearken back to 1965 (or 1968) and remember than "nothing is new under the sun."

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