Listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi takes me back to my storybook childhood when everyone believed in God and Country; parents stayed together and raised their own children; and I could ride my bike anywhere in the neighborhood without fear. All the moms baked Christmas cookies and we sampled them at every house. The excitement of the holidays kept building with stacks of cards coming in the mail and family dropping off presents placed under the real tree. The candlelight service on Christmas Eve was the climax and opening presents early the next morning was a fitting denouement.
Recreating the absolute peace and security of those Christmases with my own children has been hard because the story has changed. A post-Christian society with divisions in the country, divorce, both parents working, families separated by distance, unsafe neighborhoods and store-bought everything have made it impossible. Yet, my childhood will be preserved in my memory and I still have Vince Guaraldi to bring it alive once again.