On December 9, 1965, Americans all over the country tuned in to watch the first airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Charles Schulz, the creator of Charlie Brown in his Peanuts comic strip, “intuitively knew the things Americans cared about. The things that gave their lives meaning. The long-time Sunday school teacher also knew the reading from the Gospel of Luke was the centerpiece of the show. And a centerpiece of American life. Surprisingly, to the TV executives, it was an instant hit.
It’s a scene we’ll always remember. As Charlie Brown sinks into despair while trying to find the true meaning of Christmas, Linus walks stage center and, under a narrow spotlight, 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 sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, 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 and good will towards men.”
Charlie Brown isn’t the only one who has ever wondered what Christmas was really all about.
And the answer remains the same: The focal point of Christmas is still the manger.
In this humble feeding trough, the King of the World was born as a little baby, God Incarnate. Jesus’ holy mission had begun.
Join me today as we explore the many symbols that surround us during the holidays and gain a better appreciation of the reason for the season.