I have a soft spot for Christmas specials. I grew up with “the classics”—Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch—but by far my favorite Christmas special is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Among the many stories of snowmen and Santas and reindeer came this simple, poignant reminder of what Christmas all about.
Throughout the cartoon, Charlie Brown laments on how the world seems to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. His disillusionment grows until, frustrated by how his Christmas pageant is being co-opted, he shouts, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!?” To which his friend Linus answers, “I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” He walks to the center of the stage, asks for a spotlight, and quotes Luke 2:8-14:
“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 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.” (KJV)
Wow. A simple scene that really stood out then…and holds up remarkably well today. I can’t think of any other time from my childhood—or today for that matter—when I’ve heard a popular Christmas special lay it out quite so succinctly.
I still pause on those other specials from my childhood when I see them on TV. I remember the Who’s down in Whoville, Burgermeister Meister Burger, the Island of Misfit Toys. But for me, it’s just not Christmas until I hear Linus step to the microphone at center stage to share the story of Christ’s birth. Now, if only in the next version, Schroeder and Lucy could perform “Morning Star” with a beeswax candle…
All of us at The Moravian Magazine wish you and yours a blessed Christmas and all the best for the coming year.