From the 1965 animated TV special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” based on the comic strip Peanuts, there’s a great message thanks to Charles M. Schulz…
The 25 minute special begins with the Peanuts gang skating on the pond together, singing gleefully “Christmas Time Is Here.” Yet Charlie Brown has little joy in the moment — instead, seemingly disturbed and depressed.
He tells his buddy Linus he’s not sure as to why, to which Linus casually dismisses Charlie’s perceived typical attitude, quoting their friend Lucy: “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.”
As the special continues, so does Charlie’s depression. He seems increasingly disturbed at all the commercialism around him… the focus on the money… the focus on gifts… cards… Santa… even the focus on a Christmas decor lighting contest (congrats, Snoopy).
Charlie wanders, wondering if we really understand the meaning of the season — and all the things that potentially get in the way… that is, unless we are intentional in our pause, recognizing why we share in the happiness of the holidays, the greetings of the season, and the available peace, even when life isn’t easy.
Finally near the show’s end, cumulating in a Christmas play in which the gang is dancing with great joy once again, Charlie Brown cries out:
“Isn’t there anyone, who knows what Christmas is all about?!”
To which his pal Linus, humbly, sincerely answers once more…
“Sure, Charlie Brown. I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights please?
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 tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my 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, and good will toward men.’
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Merry Christmas, friends.
Amidst all the joy and cheer — even and maybe especially, on the days when it is not the actual holiday — may we remember and be encouraged by what Christmas is all about.