A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted 48 years ago in December 1965. Do you remember that?
Do you remember how the television network scheduled the show to run once during the Christmas season?
Do you remember how there weren’t any VCRs or PVRs then, so if you missed it, you missed it?
Do you remember how families gathered together around the one 13″ TV (black and white, maybe) in the household to watch it together?
Do you remember that it was an event that you planned around and looked forward to?
Do you remember how special that was?
I had a conversation recently with two 20-somethings. They grew up in the age of VCRs and internet. They have smart phones and laptops or tablets. They call up A Charlie Brown Christmas any time they want and watch it as many times as they want. They might even watch it by themselves. They might even (gasp) fast-forward through parts.
No event. Not so special. It makes me sad.
When I told these young people about the one-time, see-it-or-miss-it showing of Charlie Brown during my 1960s childhood, I could see myself as Methuselah in their eyes. In this case, I celebrate the greater number of my years because they allowed me to experience that time, and they allow me to cherish the memory now.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, because of its nature, will be appreciated by people for years to come, but the technology that robs it of its singularity also robs it of that elusive specialness it once held.
When anything becomes ubiquitous it also becomes ho-hum, and that makes me sad.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.