Sunday, December 25, 2011

I See... A Charlie Brown Christmas

If you are a resident of earth, you are familiar with the wildly popular, award-winning Charlie Brown Christmas Television Special produced in the 60's. I grew up with it. In Charlie Brown's world, nothing goes right. He buys a crummy little tree; his Christmas is overwhelmed with commercialism; he can't get anyone to cooperate to produce the annual Christmas play; and nobody sends him Christmas cards. Even his dog doesn't understand him. Like everything else in his life, he is a failure, even at Christmas. Poor Charlie Brown!

At the moment of his deepest distress, when he cries out in emotional agony, “doesn't anybody know the true meaning of Christmas?” Linus steps up to save the day and the season. He stands dramatically in the center of an empty stage and recites:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed;

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem;

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

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.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

Like Charlie Brown, some of you may have experienced a Christmas that was less than perfect. It could be as something as small as burning the homemade fudge on the stove, or you could be the husband who forgot to buy funny little trinkets for his wife's Christmas stocking (hmm... who could that be?). On the other hand, the serious illness or death of a loved one may have ruined your holidays. If you are one of us, one of those who have had their perfect Christmas blemished by the imperfect acts of others, there is still hope. Like Linus, hopefully, someone in your holiday circle will step up and save the day by reciting Luke Chapter 2 and reminding you of the reason for season.

We have a Savior; his name is Jesus Christ . He was born, he lived, died, and was resurrected so that we may live again. He suffered for our sins and our sorrows; he even suffered for the burned fudge, the presents that never made in the stockings, and for inconsolable grief that accompanies the untimely death of a family member. There is joy, peace, and comfort to be found in having faith in the power of his redeeming love.

I hope you have a Charlie Brown Christmas!

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