Christmas is in just five short days and for many of us that means our spare time (no matter how little of it there may be) is jam-packed with last minute shopping trips, baking lots of goodies for family and friends and watching favorite holiday classics such as “Christmas Vacation,” “A Muppet Christmas Carol,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” I always have a long list of things I want to do during this time of year to make it a memorable Christmas, but I am finding it is pretty much impossible to fit everything into my schedule. This recurring theme is forcing me to come to terms with the fact that I will never have as much free time as I did when I was a ten-year-old waiting for the big day. However, no matter how busy I may be this time of year, I can manage to squeeze in 30 minutes for what is probably my favorite Christmas special of all time… “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” In all of my 29 years on this earth I do not think a year has gone by that I did not watch it at least once.
I kept up the tradition once again this past weekend and introduced my nephew Brayden to the classic cartoon and he loved it. He even sat still through the whole thing, which for an almost two-year-old is a huge accomplishment. I know the story by heart and can quote every line, but it seems each time I watch it a certain part stands out to me more than others.
There have been times when I have had a wish list like Sally’s and have noted the size and color of each item I wanted or felt like the neighborhood psychologist like Lucy. And I think we all can relate to Charlie Brown when he thinks he kills the little tree and feels like he can’t do anything right. However this year, the moment that struck a chord with me is one that has always been one of my favorite parts of the show.
After getting fed up with the over commercialization of Christmas, Charlie Brown asks “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” And it is Linus who steps up and offers the words of wisdom, quoting from the Bible the gospel of Luke (chapter 2: 8-14).
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”
It has always been one of my favorite parts because it tells the true meaning of Christmas, something that doesn’t happen too often on television nowadays. I even read recently that producers wanted to cut out the reading of the scripture in the show because they feared what audiences would think and this was back in 1965. However it was Peanuts creator Charles Schulz who lobbied to keep it in, noting “if we don’t say it, who will?” Because as Linus says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
As another Christmas season comes to a close, I hope each of you is able to take time and remember the true reason we celebrate. It is not about the presents, or the cookies or the movies on TV. It is about a baby who came into this world to save us all. To all of our readers, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!