In 1965 Charlie Brown, after being terribly frustrated with the consumer mentalities around him, and how badly things are going with the Christmas play, he belts out the most provocative question of the season: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” A Charlie Brown Christmas holds a sentimental spot in my heart, as I have always enjoyed the characters and the special. Every year countless households tune in to watch as Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang pondered the meaning of Christmas.
The Christmas special was originally believed to be a failure back in 1965, but has now become as much a part of “Christmas Americana” as other well-known favorites like, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
In walks the most unlikely character to give Chuck a speech of the true meaning of Christmas.
Linus Van Pelt responds by stepping onto the stage and reciting Luke 2:8-14 reminding us of the true “Reason for the Season,” that being the virgin birth of the promised One, the Messiah, the Lamb of God: Jesus Christ.
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, goodwill toward men.
I still get shivers up and down my spine when Linus shares the gospel with his cartoon friends, and I still shed a tear when he drops his security blanket when he says “Fear not.” While I do have some sentimental feelings toward this classic, I have to ask the question: What now? What good came out of Linus sharing the truth of the coming Messiah to Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang?
The rest of the story shows that little to no change of heart happened in the lives of his friends. Sure, there was a renewed hope for the little tree, and they sang, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” together as the credits rolled, but no one responded biblically to the gospel. No one repented of their sins. No one accepted the reality of their lost condition before a holy and righteous God. Sadly, as far as we know, no one was saved by grace through faith in Jesus.
Sure, this brought biblical truths to their Christmas special, and it is surprising that any Scripture made it to the viewers at home. Turning people away from their “consumer Christmas” mentality, though, isn’t enough. We need to remember that, unless our loved ones understand of their great need of the Savior, and turn to faith in Christ, a destructive eternity apart from God awaits them.
The beloved “Charlie Brown Christmas” special will once again come and go, but the Great Commission is still before us.
May we, like little Linus, be faithful to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to our family and friends this season. May we be committed to the hard thing, the uncomfortable thing – for the sake of Your Son, who was committed to the most difficult of things when He allowed Himself to be scourged and slain so that sinners might be saved – and share your wonderful plan of salvation with our loved ones this Christmas season.
In your Son’s precious name,