That's What Christmas is All About, Charlie Brown
Every year around this time, we hear "what Christmas is all about." If you were to believe much of what's proclaimed on TV, you'd think it's only about presents under the tree, time spent with family and friends, the latest Hallmark special, the best buys at Best Buy...But the real meaning of Christmas is something quite different and that something--that someone--is all too often shoved aside in celebrations of this season.
As the Our Daily Bread devotional guide reminds us, it was more than fifty years ago that A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast on American television. Some network executives thought it would be ignored, while others worried that quoting the Bible would offend viewers. Some wanted its creator, Charles Schulz, to omit the Christmas story, but Schulz insisted it stay in. The program was an immediate success and has been rebroadcast every year since 1965.
When Charlie Brown, the frustrated director of the children’s Christmas play, is discouraged by the commercial spirit of the holiday season, he asks if anyone can tell him the real meaning of Christmas. Linus recites Luke 2:8-14 including the words, “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” (vv. 11-14 kjv). Then Linus says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
During this season filled with our own doubts and dreams, it’s good to ponder afresh God’s great love expressed in the familiar story of Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus, and the angels who announced the Savior’s birth.
That’s what Christmas is all about. —David McCasland
Father in heaven, as we approach Christmas, may we grasp in a deeper way Your amazing gift to us.
God broke into human history to offer us the gift of salvation!
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. —Luke 2:8
INSIGHT: Two angels are named in the Bible: archangels Michael (Dan. 10:13; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7) and Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). Angels appeared a number of times in connection with Christ's birth. Gabriel appeared to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-20) and then to Mary, announcing that she would become the mother of the Messiah (v. 26). An unnamed angel, which most scholars believe was Gabriel, appeared three times in dreams to Joseph (Matt. 1:20; 2:13, 19). Gabriel also announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds and, joined by a "multitude of the heavenly host," declared glory to God (2:8-14).
From the Our Daily Bread devotional guide.
Accompanying images: Linus and Charlie Brown at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. [Photos: DFG Hailson]