Posted on 12.23.2023

Blue Christmas Part I & Blue Christmas Part II: White Christmas, Or More God Winks - Soapbox Jr. Rewinds

*NOTE* The Holidays haven’t been the same for us since 2019, which was the last Christmas we had our own jolly fat man around. His absence is still overwhelming at times, but we’ve settled into our “new normal” as best we can, but it goes without saying that we still miss him terribly.
Here are a pair of Soapbox Jr. Rewinds from Christmas 2020 which both paint vivid pictures of how much his absence impacted us at the most wonderful time of the year.
Please read them all the way through, if you check out early in the first one where I was feeling down, you’ll miss the entire point, not to mention the uplifting moments of Part II.
These were both written straight from the bottom of my freshly broken heart, but I hope by the end of the second one, you have the same smile that I did.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
- Charlie Daniels, Jr.
Blue Christmas Part I – Soapbox Jr. Rewind
Originally written in 2020.
I haven’t watched a single Christmas special this year, visions of sugarplums aren’t dancing in my head, and I feel more like saying “Bah humbug” than singing Christmas carols.
The stress has been more than any Christmas I can ever remember, and this year I think I understand what the Grinch, Burgermeister Meisterburger the Winter Warlock, the Abominable Snow Monster of the North, the cranky brother with the flaming hair from ‘The Year Without a Santa Claus’ and Bill Murray felt.
No, not really…
It’s just the overall feeling from the fatigue of a really bad year. I mean, BAD. It’s been bad in almost every way, the pandemic, losing Dad, trying to keep a business based on his talents going without him, pandemic, a chaotic and frustrating election season, a hectic Black Friday/Cyber Monday Christmas push for our website sales, and did I mention the pandemic?
Unfortunately, “the most wonderful time of the year” hasn’t quite been the same in 2020. The push for our Christmas website sales usually puts me closer to Christmas Eve before I can relax and start trying to take in the joy of the season, but it’s going to be even more difficult this year.
It’s been difficult to find joy this year. To be honest, the whole season has been draining, as if 2020 hasn’t been draining enough.
It’s going to be even worse because our round, jolly man with the white beard won’t be at our house this year, and we can’t even have the normalcy of our large Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day traditional gatherings to at least have that to hold on to. Instead of a houseful, it’s going to be a fraction of the size it usually is.
And it’s the biggest “sadiversary” of the year.
Dad loved Christmas. He had such a big heart, and he loved every aspect of the holiday.
There was no CDB Christmas party this year, no Santa calling up the children and grandchildren of the CDB family. You could see the pure joy in Dad’s eyes as he played Santa’s little helper next to the big guy.
Normally on Christmas Eve after attending church, we would have friends and some of our closest CDB family to gather around and listen to Dad read the Christmas story from the Book of Luke and his original story, “A Carolina Christmas Carol.” That has been a tradition in our house since the story was written in the mid-80s.
Then after the reading, Dad would go around the room and ask everyone to say a few words, what they were thankful for, anything on their minds, or just simply, “Merry Christmas” for the shyer guests in attendance.
But I don’t know if Mom will be up for it since it will just be a few of us, and it will probably make her cry more than she already does.
So, large men in red suits breaking into homes, tinsel, gifts, mistletoe, lights, the whole thing just seems empty this year.
Bah, humbug.
But… that’s not what Christmas is about.
Christmas is about the miracle of a baby born in a stable over 2,000 years ago who would be the Savior of the world, who would grow to be the most influential person who ever lived, and who would be a living sacrifice for our sins, and the shedding of His blood brings salvation for everyone who wants it.
It’s a gift.
The best Christmas gift ever.
It’s a gift we can’t earn; it’s a gift we don’t deserve.
It’s grace.
If we have to earn it, it’s not grace.
And it’s right there for the taking. We just need to humble ourselves, admit we are sinners and that we need a Savior, acknowledge that Savior is Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, and that God raised Him from the dead.
It’s that simple.
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
It might be time to watch Linus say those words again for at least the 50th plus time; maybe my heart will grow three sizes, it sure could use it this year.
God Bless us, everyone.
- Charlie Daniels, Jr.
Blue Christmas Part II: White Christmas, Or More God Winks
Originally written in 2020.
On Christmas Eve, I wrote a preamble to go with Dad’s “A Carolina Christmas Carol’ story for the website, and I mentioned that, most likely, I would not post anything new until after the first of the year unless something jumped out at me.
Well, two things jumped out.
One was while I was posting Dad’s story, and the other happened just now.
If you recall, last time, I was lamenting the overall lack of Christmas spirit I had been feeling.
It wasn’t – as some had suggested – due to forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. Some people just read through the part where I said I was down and not feeling the Christmas spirit and then skipped the part where I laid out what the true meaning actually was.
Instead, my lack of joy was simply due to the absence of the round, jolly man with a white beard and a prominent laugh, who was always overflowing with enough Christmas spirit for everyone around, my Dad.
But this morning, as I was writing the introduction. I looked outside, and on Mom and Dad’s porch was the chubbiest bright red cardinal I have ever seen. He landed on the porch swing right outside the kitchen window where I was working, stayed for a minute or so, and then flew off.
I had to smile because, as legend has it, cardinals can be our loved ones who have passed away, coming to comfort us in times of distress, around celebrations, or when we are just missing them. I’m not going to debate how that is theologically possible, but I am well aware that Dad was not reincarnated as a cardinal or anything like that. All I know is that it was reassuring to see that chubby red fella out there.
When I mentioned it to mom, she tearfully said it was Dad checking on us, and it made me smile, something I don’t feel like I have done much of as of late.
Legend or not, I’m calling a “God wink” on this one.
Mom and I had a very low-key Christmas Eve with less than a quarter of what we would have in a normal year, but the food was delicious, and the company was good.
Mom went to bed, and I went to gas up Dad’s truck, and it started snowing to beat the band.
There had been a few flurries earlier in the evening, but this was flat coming down. It was mostly blowing around, and I figured it would be the end of it.
I then stopped back by my house to put the finishing touches on my main Christmas tree (Yes, I know it’s Christmas Eve, don’t judge me), and finally got to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” I had to stop and take it in when Linus makes his speech telling the story from the Book of Luke, and I felt a little more cheer filling my heart. And when I finally finished my last-minute decorating (stop judging me), I grabbed my coat, and then I was going to head back up to Mom and Dad’s , but when I stepped out of my back door, suddenly I was six years old again.
Snow on Christmas Eve.
For the first time in… I really couldn’t say… we were getting a White Christmas, even if it’s just a dusting.
Middle Tennessee Christmases are funning things. It can be breezy and 70º, 45º and raining, or downright chilly, but snow on Christmas Eve is something magically rare around these parts.
A God Wink from a pleasantly plump cardinal, and now spectacular snow covering the ground on a cold Christmas Eve is exactly what I needed.
“Well, in Whoville, they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day.” – Dr. Seuss
This has still been a rough year, and, of course, I still miss Dad, but I think I’m finally recapturing a little of the Christmas spirit I’ve been missing, and I know how truly blessed I am to have had such an amazing man in my life for over 55 years.
If that was you today, Dad, thanks for stopping by when I really needed it. I love you!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
- Charlie Daniels, Jr.


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