A Charlie Brown Christmas
I’m struck by how clearly they present the message of the true reason for Christmas. As Charlie and his friends tried to figure out the meaning of the ‘big day’ there was a lot of confusion and conflicting views, much like today. But Linus brought things into focus when he quoted the words of Luke 2 in that famous scene where the show all came together.
And it almost didn’t happen.
As the story goes, the network that would play the show on TV wanted that whole scene cut out. They didn’t want the scripture to be in there but instead have a more generic answer to the question of what Christmas is all about.
Fortunately Charles Shultz, who was a follower of Jesus Christ, had enough power as the number 1 cartoonist in the world at the time to refuse the demand and so we have the chance every year to hear Linus recite these powerful words:
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on
whom His favor rests
It’s funny now that these were provocative words in 1965 when it first aired considering how we sometimes nostalgically look back on the 60’s as a church. They continue to be inflammatory today, perhaps even more so considering all the fear, polarization and suffering we see. But then they were controversial and inflammatory when they were spoken by the angels to the shepherds in the first place. Think of the reaction of King Herod!
In these words from Luke, and spoken by Linus in the cartoon, are some powerful truths for us to remember in order to experience the gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:23). No wonder there are regular attempts to have them banned!
First, we must remember that all glory goes to God in the highest. We do nothing to deserve the gift of salvation it is for His glory (Eph. 2:8-9). He needs to be first.
Second, despite all the initiatives of man to try to bring peace and harmony the reality of sin and our sin nature means that these well-intentioned attempts are all doomed to failure. Peace, whether it be global, in Syria, or in our own personal lives, only comes through the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ (Is. 9:6)
Finally, and perhaps sadly, this offer is available only to those on whom His favor rests. Who’s that? Those who have made Jesus their Lord and Savior (John 14:6, Rom. 10:9)
Have you received the gift? Have you opened it or does it sit under the tree of your life to be admired and pondered? No, we need to receive it, open it then like kids on Christmas Day experience it, do something with it, live for it and so have the opportunity to experience the gift of God and bring great delight to the one who gave it to us.
Truly this is the ‘greatest story ever told’: that the word became flesh (Jn.1:14), the Lord Jesus, incarnate, dwelled among men to bring salvation to the world. I’m so glad Charles Shultz held firm and we have this great reminder every year.
May you have a blessed Christmas and prosperous New Year.