December 26, 2004

The Meaning of Christmas

(I'm leaving this post at the top of the page all week by way of a Christmas card to our readers. Scroll on down for newer fare.)


Although it is generally silly to speak of transcendence and cartoons, I've always felt that there was one very important exception to this rule, namely, Linus' recitation of Luke 2:8-14 in "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Even as a kid, I recognized that there was something very special about the moment when Linus walks out to the front of the stage, the lights go dim around him, everything is hush and he begins to speak in calm, measured tones:

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 good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 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, good will toward men.

As ridiculous as it may sound, just reading these words causes me to start tearing up. And Linus is absolutely right: This is the true meaning of Christmas.

I sometimes used to wonder how it was that in the midst of a rather poorly animated cartoon voiced over by a gang of child actors this moment could have come off as perfectly as it does, suddenly passing beyond the limits of the medium and touching on the greatest of glories. But it occured to me that the answer is really quite simple: Because Charles Schultz believed in what Linus said. I do, too. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

On that note, I wish to express my warmest wishes for the season to all of you who drop by our little piece of silliness, whether you're regular readers or just passing through. I'm sure plenty of you follow different faiths than I do, or may not even have a faith. That's okay. The message of Christmas on earth is not confined to a select group of believers but, as the man says, extends to everyone.

Merry Christmas and God bless you all, every one!

Posted by Robert at December 26, 2004 09:38 AM

Well said, Rob. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Posted by: jen at December 20, 2004 10:24 AM

You are absolutely right when you write:

As ridiculous as it may sound, just reading these words causes me to start tearing up. And Linus is absolutely right: This is the true meaning of Christmas.

The Charley Brown Christmas Special first aired at about the time I became aware of what Christmas was all about, and it's been an essential part of my Christmas ever since. I've memorized every word and breath.

Have a Happy and Holy Christmas, Robert

Posted by: Pious Agnostic at December 20, 2004 01:19 PM

Well put. I saw Charlie Brown (on Friday, I believe) and gasped when Linus spoke from the forbidden book on our public airways. I'm wagering that within 5 years, we won't be seeing him around anymore.

Posted by: The Colossus at December 20, 2004 01:24 PM

Well Said. Christ in born in Bethlehem. Thank you for the warm greeting, and Glad Tidings to you and yours.

Posted by: Brian B at December 20, 2004 01:51 PM

Little no account bastarde... you made me tear up...
I wish I was ten again.

Posted by: TC-LeatherPenguin at December 20, 2004 06:15 PM

Yes, the homeschool band that played on the Ellipse on Friday made mention of Charles Schultz's shot at Christmas commercialism with a reading of the passage.
Is it nice or is it just another mixing of the religious with the pagan? I mean, what is with these trees? Didn't we beat Germany in two wars and for what, so we can follow their pagan Christmas traditions? Sorry...pass the eggnog, please.

Posted by: Marjorie at December 20, 2004 09:53 PM

Colossus: If the ACLU targeted Charlie Brown Christmas, it would be their death-knell. If CBS caved in to the ACLU, it would be *theirs*.

No, I don't think Linus is going anywhere anytime soon. And I think the worst is over. There's not much more that the PC crowd can do to eviscerate Christmas from the public square, and people are finally starting to push back. I agree with those commentators that stated this was payback for Bush's reelection; there's no other reasonable explanation for the volume of furious bile coming from the Left over Christmas.

Posted by: pianoman at December 21, 2004 12:18 PM

And God bless us all,
From Julie in Santa Rosa, CA,
Sparky Shultz's home town.

Posted by: JulieB at December 21, 2004 07:15 PM

Pardon me for my earlier crankiness. I just wanted to say that fury at the commercialization of Christmas (trees, Santa, endless shopping) is not a partisan issue. I have plenty of conservative Christian friends who see it all as the work of the Enemy, and they don't mean the Dems. Christian Parenting magazine offers tips on how to avoid the typical Christmas celebration, or even skip it -- most people don't consider that a liberal rag.

Posted by: Marjorie at December 22, 2004 09:30 AM

I get around it all by lumping Santa into the same category as the Easter Bunny - a pleasant little custom for the kiddies that they will eventually outgrow as they grasp the true meaning of the holiday. Unfortunately, as I often rant in relation to a great many other subjects, there are too many people who simply never DO outgrow their childishness.

Then again, if all adults actually acted like adults, what would I have to write about?

Posted by: Robert the LB at December 22, 2004 10:09 AM

Gack! Atheists of the world weep bitterly. The llamas got religion.

Posted by: Marti at December 22, 2004 04:07 PM

It was a perfect moment. And the kind of thing you'd never see in a contemporary Xmas special.

Posted by: jeff at December 22, 2004 06:25 PM

Thanks,guys! It's nice to read again!
Merry Christmas!

Posted by: ali at December 22, 2004 06:28 PM

btw, I know you're like Mr Negativity on the LOTR movies, but didn't you even like the extended version of Eowyn vs Mr Potatohead??

Posted by: jeff at December 22, 2004 07:20 PM

Merry Christmas Llama Butchers!!

Merry Christmas you old Building and Loan!!

Much love and hugs,

Posted by: Margi at December 23, 2004 12:32 AM

We all know that christmas is the birthday of jesus and when we give presents we are imulating the three wise men or kings who gave the christ child gifts of GOLD FRANKENSENSE and MYRRE and althoght we cant ever give away these valuble gifts we give presents that we ether make or buy

Posted by: night heron at December 23, 2004 08:52 PM

Merry Christmas, Robert!

Posted by: Fausta at December 24, 2004 09:29 AM

I also watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Charles Schultz has always had a way of bringing what really matters in life to light. Did you ever see the Charlie Brown special where Charlie Brown befriends a little girl who has leukemia?

Posted by: Tiffany Williams at December 27, 2004 12:30 AM
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