As I wrote last year, A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my all-time favorite Christmas TV shows. Why is that? Because it accurately portrays the events that occur at this time of the year, possibly even truer this year than any year before. Christmas music was already being played in stores and malls on 1 November this year. Thanksgiving week (including Thanksgiving day) and the week after were glorified shopping events where you could max out your credit card buying stuff you wanted in a matter of hours. Every Christmas special and Christmas-themed segment on the morning news talked about what they called the true meaning of Christmas, be it family, friendship, love, kindness, peace, or giving. Nearly every one of these things were represented in A Charlie Brown Christmas, a hand-drawn cartoon created all the way back in 1965: Snoopy decorating his dog house in order to win “Money! Money! Money!” and Sally wanting money in “10s and 20s”.
But there is something in this cartoon other cartoons both classic and modern like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, never so much as allude to: the true meaning of Christmas:
God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
This is the real meaning, the true reason of Christmas. Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, was born of a virgin in a cave in Bethlehem, a small and insignificant city in Israel. This event was prophesied by Isaiah and Micah hundreds of years before:
14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
3 Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
A Charlie Brown Christmas clearly states the true reason of Christmas. Linus, acting as an orator, eloquently quotes Luke 2:8-14, the passage about the angels proclaiming the joyous news, the birth of the Savior, to the lowly shepherds, who were in that time’s culture despised and cast out people.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 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. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Truly, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” Jesus Christ, the King of kings, Lord of lords, and Prince of Peace, coming to this world that He created, being laid in a manager (that is, a feeding trough), and later dying on the cross and rising again into Heaven three days later. All this was done by a loving God to take away our sins so we may spend eternity with Him in Heaven rather than be a prisoner in Hell.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Merry Christmas everybody. 🙂