The Charlie Brown Christmas special premiered when I was six years old. I believe I’ve seen it at least once every year since. My favorite part is when Linus quotes the Christmas story from the Bible.
Every year brings a new set of children’s Christmas shows, dozens of Christmas movies, school programs, Christmas cantatas, church plays, all attempting to enhance the spirit of Christmas; bringing us that warm Christmas feeling. Watching these events should make one feel like they are covered up under a blanket, next to a fire, while a gentle snow falls outside the window. I think I hear sleigh bells jingling in the background as I type this.
All of these presentations bring various levels of entertainment and all attempt to portray the Christmas spirit in one form or another. The Christmas season is shown as a season of joy, love, giving, and miracles or some combination of these. By the time December is over it’s almost as if we believe that a jolly time of love, giving, miracles and joy can only occur between Thanksgiving day and Dec. 25. Nothing right or miraculous could possibly happen on, say, June 23.
Well, that may be a stretch, but you get the point.
You might be wondering with all this bombarding throughout December with story after story of the meaning of Christmas how can I say the meaning of Christmas gets more muddled every year?
The vast majority of these Christmas stories don’t have a Linus.
Sometimes we can get all tangled up trying to find joy, love, benevolence, and miracles in life we forget to look at the source of joy, love, giving, and miracles - The Lord Jesus Christ. Remember? The Babe in the Manger?
Linus’ quoting of Luke and the birth of the Savior was more than just a reminder to Charlie Brown that Christmas doesn’t need a fancy tree; it is a reminder of who these things and Christmas are.
The season of giving: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6.
I never mentioned a season of peace, but the son given is the Prince of Peace.
The season of love: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.
The season of joy: Following the star to the Christ Child brought the wise men great joy (Matthew 2:10).
The season of miracles: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” Isaiah 7:14.
The greatest of all miracles; God Almighty; the one who spoke the universe into existence, came to His creation in the form of a helpless baby, born of a virgin, in a barn and laid in an animals watering trough.
He not only brings a spirit of love, joy, peace, giving, and miracles – He is love, joy, peace, giving and miraculous.
He came for us – the babe in the manger happened so He may grow up to be the man on the cross. The angel told Joseph, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:20-21.
With all the plays, movies, skits, programs and the like, you will be seeing; look for a Linus. Someone that tells of the true season of Christmas - Jesus Christ is born today.
In case you don’t see a Linus this Christmas season, I leave you with Luke 2:1-16.
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 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.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 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.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger.”
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Email him at [email protected] and visit preacherjohnson.com.