When I was growing up we always watched all of the animated Christmas specials on TV. There was “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” But my favorite Christmas show was, and still is, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
My parents never took me to church much when I was a kid, but we always celebrated Christmas. For the most part Christmas was about Santa bringing us presents. But “A Charlie Brown Christmas” taught me what Christmas was all about.
The 20+ minute show starts with Charlie Brown feeling sad because it seemed to him that Christmas was so commercial. Lucy tells him that he needs to get more involved and suggests that he direct the Christmas play, in which she will be the Christmas Queen. Charlie Brown decides that maybe that will help, but he can’t seem to get anyone to pay attention to his direction.
Finally Lucy suggests that he go get a big aluminum tree, so Charlie Brown and Linus head off to the Christmas tree lot. Amid the bright lights and many shiny, aluminum trees, Charlie Brown finds a tiny, real tree and decides it is perfect. But when they get back to the auditorium where the others in the play are dancing to Schroeder’s piano playing, the other kids all laugh at him.
The next scene is my favorite of the whole show:
Charlie Brown: I guess you were right Linus; I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I don’t really know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who understands what Christmas is all about?
Linus: Sure, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
Linus goes to center stage, spotlight.
Linus: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock 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 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 Saviour, 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.” [Luke 2:8-14]
Linus picks up blanket, walks back to piano.
Linus: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
I am thankful that this small Word of God, shared by an animated child, with a security blanket, was planted in my heart. The prophet Isaiah wrote these Words of God: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” These Words spoken by Linus have not returned void. Because of them I am blessed to understand what Christmas is all about. I smile to think of all the other children who have watched this show and had His Word planted in their hearts.
I can’t wait to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” again this year, though I won’t be at the mercy of when the TV networks decide to air it (if they do at all) because I own it on DVD. My son says we have to wait until it’s December, but I’m ready to watch it any time! It’s a wonderful antidote to the crazy commercialism of Black Friday, a reminder of the real meaning of Christmas. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend you make it a new Christmas tradition.