Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, December 15, 2014
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Every year I enjoy watching the annual cartoon special “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Tomorrow night’s showing of this annual presentation will mark the fiftieth broadcast, having first appeared in 1965. Because I saw the initial broadcast, I every time I see it I feel old. Nevertheless, I find the message as important and refreshing as always and not at all a dated relic from the 1960s.
Life in the 1960’s was simpler, although the pace of the American lifestyle was accelerating rapidly. Technological, political, and cultural upheavals were rampant and America was losing much of its spiritual innocence. This is the time when our culture first questioned if God were dead. The church was experiencing a mass exodus of members, many of whom have never returned.
Charles Schultz, the creator of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, was a religious man who recognized the spiritual turmoil in our society. Schultz was able to impart to Charlie Brown, the perpetual loser, a sense of longing for something better than the culture was delivering. Charlie Brown was looking for the real meaning of Christmas while everyone around him, even his faithful dog Snoopy, was caught up in the commercialism and greed.
In 1965, the concepts of commercialism and greed during the Christmas season were less developed and entrenched as they are today. Our society was looking back on a long history of faith-based living, yet moving swiftly into a more secular world. Today, the commercialism and greed of Christmas seems to be just a cliché. To many, it’s just a convenient platitude to utter in order to sooth a guilty conscience brought on by “conspicuous consumption”. Worse yet, others see the secular activities as “normal” and fail to make any spiritual connection at all, much less recognizing Jesus as the “Reason for the Season”. Others are working actively to remove Christ and the name “Christmas” from the entire season. Sadly, their efforts are finding success.
God gave us a small but lasting gift through the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Charlie Brown is searching for the spiritual meaning of Christmas while the world around him focuses its attention elsewhere. He comes off as the real loser, just as Christians today are ridiculed for seeking and obeying their spiritual callings. Christians are often viewed as blockheads, not unlike how the cartoon children view Charlie Brown. But God is faithful to those who seek Him, and He sends a messenger to Charlie Brown to comfort him spiritually and to remind him of the precious gift of His Son.
It is encouraging to me whom He sent. It wasn’t the suave, popular, pushy, and worldly Lucy, always ready to take control of the situation in her own way – ready to give you five compelling reasons in the form of a closed fist. Instead, it was Linus, her brother, another social outcast, who was chosen to deliver the important message of Christ’s birth, the real meaning of Christmas. Linus, the emotionally crippled, blanket-toting misfit was lifted up to bring light to those suffering in spiritual darkness. This is not unlike the shepherds, also social outcasts of the time, who were called to recognize and glorify the Baby Jesus as His first visitors, or Mary Magdalene, a woman with a past, who was the first to proclaim Christ had risen from the dead.
Hearing Linus read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2 is a true gift from God. These passages have been with us for two millennia, yet they, or any Scriptural verses, are rarely heard today on television. In Hollywood’s eyes, it’s just not cool to read His Word, especially on prime time, national broadcasts. Ironically, many people are too busy searching for their own glory and success to take the time to find out how to achieve success for all eternity. Yet the cartoon special ends on a high note, with all the children singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, another rare instance of hearing our LORD glorified on national television.
Through Charles Schultz, God has given us a gift by means of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. As with many Christians today, Charlie Brown and Linus, the spiritual ones, are not considered normal amongst their peers, but they seem to be the only ones able to bring us the message of the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus warned us the world would give us trouble (John 16:33). This is normal, especially if we’re about His business, which is also normal, but not to the world.
Linus, a mere cartoon character, was bold for Him. You too, can be bold today for Him. Pray to Him for the opportunity to witness to others. Pray He will give you the wisdom to recognize the opportunity, and pray for the boldness to follow through with words the Holy Spirit has promised to provide. Then rejoice in the salvation we receive through Him.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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