Last week, for the 54th consecutive year, A Charlie Brown Christmas was broadcast on a major network to a national audience. It’s still as good as it ever was.
It’s interesting that the scene that stole the show almost didn’t happen.
Do you remember it? As the gang is preparing for their local Christmas play, everyone gets mad at Charlie Brown for buying a pitiful, almost hopeless, tree.
Dejected, he says, “Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I don’t know what Christmas is all about.” And he cries out: “Is there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Linus says, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.”
He then steps center stage and recites the Nativity story from Luke 2 —the story of the angels appearing before the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus.
When network executives previewed the program, they objected: “You can’t read long passages of the King James Version on broadcast TV; you’ll lose your audience.”
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was adamant. He said, “If we don’t tell the Christmas story, who will?”
The scene stayed in, and it turned out that the network executives were wrong. After the program aired, critics praised Linus’ reading, calling it the “dramatic highlight of the season.”
Schultz has a point — one which every church, every preacher, every believer would do well to consider. “If we don’t tell the Christmas story, who will?”
I’m referring to more than merely repeating the sequence of events found in Matthew and Luke. I’m referring to proclaiming the message of the season … the meaning of it all.
Some may never know, if they don’t hear it from you or me, that Christmas means that God is in our presence: Our loving Heavenly Father sent his Son to take life’s journey with us, to make right that which had gone wrong, to save us from our sin and from ourselves.
In the coming days you may encounter a Charlie Brown, beaten down and discouraged, who wonders what this season — or life itself — is really about.
Be sure to let them know.