“Isn’t There Anyone Who Knows What Christmas is All About?”
The best Christmas story is the one we will tell in Church on Christmas Eve, but if I had to nominate a runner up it would be A Charlie Brown Christmas. This 1965 animated television special has an enduring place in the cultural canon of Christmas classics.
The music has a lot to do with that. Vince Guaraldi’s melancholy score captures the complex texture of this season that is often glossed over by the glitzier music that is common this time of year. And the story follows a depressed Charlie Brown as he seeks to get through the crass commercialization of the season and discover what he expects is its deeper truth.
Perhaps you remember the moment when Linus takes the stage, and recites the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. “There were in the same country shepherds…” Linus is known for his signature blue security blanket, which he is never able to let go of without being overcome with anxiety.
Except this one time.
When Linus speaks the words of the angel—“be not afraid”—the blanket falls to the floor. And we see Linus, for the first time, calm and confident, with both hands free.
This is what Christmas is all about. Christmas is the great news of God’s presence that separates us from every anxiety. It is the song of angels that might actually soothe our fearful hearts. It is the story that helps us let go of our need to be in control, and marvel at the unfolding story of salvation, of which we are but a small part.
Whatever you are holding onto for dear life, whether it is a grudge, a hurt, or even just your phone, lay it down for Christmas. Listen in the dark for the song of angels. Look for the light of our dawning hope.
Prayer: Child of Promise, you say to our troubled hearts: “do not be afraid.” Help us to hear it. Help us to believe. Amen.