OPINION: What is Christmas all about?

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a spectacular televised event that featured celebrity performances, behind the scenes interviews and never before seen clips of Charles Schultz in action. The featured guests shared their experiences with Charlie Brown and how he had impacted their lives, and many to this day cannot go through the Christmas season without watching the special.

We all know the story of Charlie Brown and his search for belonging among his group of friends. We all know how Charlie Brown just can’t seem to do anything right, according to his peers, and this continues to hold true even around the holidays. I grew up watching this movie pretty much my entire life. I can’t remember a Christmas when we did not gather around to watch Snoopy decorate his doghouse, see Charlie Brown search for the perfect Christmas tree or to hear Linus’ famous quotation of Luke 2: 8-14. Up until this year, it never really had occurred to me that it really was a big deal to have the Christmas story presented on television like that. As a child, I grew up in a Christian home and heard that same story every Christmas so I just assumed that was part of the norm. As an adult, I now see what a huge deal that is.

When ABC Family hosted the 50th year anniversary for the Christmas special, I got to see a few interviews with Charles Schultz. One interview in particular really stood out to me because he talked about the scene where Linus quotes the familiar Bible verses. He said that since it was a Christmas special, it could not be done without referencing the “famous passage in Saint Luke.” At the time, according to Schultz, it was absolutely unheard of for a cartoon to reference the Bible, but he would not do it unless those verses were included. I find that very inspiring and admirable. It’s not every day that you find courage like that, especially in the entertainment world.

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Today you can hardly find anything on television that promotes Christianity in a positive light. Normally when you do find a reference to Christianity it’s either over the top with drama or it’s so hypocritical that Christians get an even worse reputation.

I think that’s something that really makes the “A Charlie Brown Christmas” special stand out, though. It provides decent entertainment for all ages, it’s serious as well as hilarious and it slips in the subtle message of what Christmas is really all about. It doesn’t beat you over the head with the message of Jesus, but it just simply tells the truth and leaves it there for you to ponder. Christmas is not about decorations, food and presents, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” special is not about a little tree that just needs some love. Christmas is about the birth of Christ and what that birth means to the world, and Schultz knew just how to get that message across to the masses. Thank you, Charles Schultz, for taking a stand when others wouldn’t. Thank you, Linus, for being the theologian you are and for memorizing your lines perfectly. And thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ for coming to Earth as a baby to save us from our sins. That is a debt we will never be able to repay. Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope your holidays are blessed.