It was 1965 and Charles Schultz continued to create the timeless comic strip Peanuts. The producers at CBS took a chance on creating an animated Christmas special. As the story boards were being created and the concept was being set in motion, there were conversations happening between the creator and the people from CBS. What kind of music? We find out that Charles Schultz wasn’t sure about the jazz music. Which has not only continued to be part of the program but it has become part of many people’s Christmas music library.
Not only was their discussion over the music, there were some who were not sure about the ending. Do we really think that people will want the Christmas story quoted from the Bible? Well as it ends up Schultz gave in on the Jazz music and CBS gave in on the passage from the gospel of Luke.
The story line is classic. Charlie Brown, conflicted again, bring his concerns to Lucy who has a Psychiatric “lemonade” stand. He continues to ask Linus and even after taking on the role of director of the Christmas program filled with dancing children, Snoopy making animal noises and Lucy wanting to be the Christmas queen, he cries out, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
It seems that the same challenges face us today. “Isn’t There Anyone Who Knows What Christmas is All About?”
What do you find yourself thinking during this Christmas season? Where are you spending most of your time? Are you just as discouraged as Charlie Brown? Have you found yourself looking at websites for Christmas cruises or short weekends away in the mountains? Maybe instead you have found yourself bearing all the expectations of your family, parents or church?
It is so hard to dim the lights, drop our blue security blanket on the floor and begin to tell our hearts, “what Christmas is all about.”
Luke 2 The Message (MSG)
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!
That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown. Take this to heart! Stop. Listen. Consider.
Have you been in that auditorium? Have you been at the end of yourself? The end of the program points to where you might need to begin.
The children who have made fun of Charlie Brown’s little tree, find that all it needed was a little love! The tree that was once made fun of becomes the object of their attention.
Jesus is that little tree! He was the object of scorn. He took on human flesh, became a man so that he could take our place on a Cross. Joseph was told, “Call Him Jesus for He will save His people from their sins.”
The children, circle around the tree and begin to sing at the end of the program.
Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
This is what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.
Just in case you missed it here is a clip of the last portion of the program