Santa, Jesus, Emmet Otter, and Linus: Let's have dinner

The holidays are a time when in the midst of great joy, we tend to focus unnecessarily on all that divides us. We do it without even realizing it. Who celebrates Christmas and who celebrates Hanukkah? What if you don't believe in any of the traditions? What if you celebrate Festivus?

Here is where I fall on all this.

December is a month about miracles - great and small. It is about human kindness, devotion, and our capacity to love.

It is okay to take the lessons from the stories, even when we might not profess the belief system that frames it.

So I'm having a dinner party with the folks I have been hanging out with since I was little.

Short, esteemed guest list, in no particular order.

Santa Well, obviously. He is, as you may know, kind of a big deal. I love Santa's attitude. He is the man you want on your team when you have a project deadline. But Santa also brings some serious lessons. Sometimes, belief is enough to make things happen. This man visits every child in a single night, essentially managing to bend time and space to accomplish everything. He is a lot of things to a lot of people. He is willing to draw lines in the sand about naughty and nice - what is kind and what isn't going to fly. And he listens. It may not always bring you want you want, but everyone wants to be heard. 

I'm inviting Santa - the one from Santa Claus, The Movie - 1985

Jesus and his parents: Okay, so they are probably going to be the most popular group at the dinner, but I know they will keep it low-key. They have been doing it that way since Jesus was born. The story of the birth of Jesus Christ, no matter what you believe, is a story worth hearing. Here are two parents - with faith in the purpose of their life - trying to make it work despite the obstacles laid before them. Joseph is taking care of his family. He hunts for a place to stay - and finds the best place possible. Mary holds it together even when her option for childbirth is decidedly less comfortable than she might have wanted (the stable wasn't exactly the private room she was hoping for). This is a story of devotion - to spouse and to family - and a willingness to trust in an unknown future. And the animals? The magi? They supported their friends. They showed up. They were present.

It wasn't what they expected, but it was what they hoped for.
Emmett Otter and his mom: I will probably want Emmet to sit next to me at dinner because I just think he is completely adorable. And I'll probably cry, too, because I love Emmet's story about his Christmas in Frogtown Hollow so much. Emmet and his mom, Alice, both so desperately wanted to see each other happy that they sacrificed the things that made them most happy themselves. This is what family, parenting, marriage, and love itself is made of - love so deep that you would offer up your own happiness before seeing someone unhappy. That kind of love is catching - an example in the action itself.
We're closer now than ever before. There's love in our world, and we're showing it more. Our world says "Welcome Stranger" - Everybody's a friend.
And last, but not least, I'm inviting:

Linus. And Charlie can come too. You have to invite someone to your party that isn't afraid to keep his trusty blanket with him, despite criticism. Charlie sees the good in even the smallest among us. But, Linus sums it all up in simple terms. Christmas is about the themes that Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Santa, Emmett and Alice bring to the dinner table.

Tidings of great joy. To all people. 

Love. Devotion. Presence.

And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

And after dinner? Yep, we're doing yoga.
courtesy of