By John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
One of the real highlights of Christmas is the presentation of the animated classicA Charlie Brown Christmas. When Charles Schulz started thinking about creating this television possibility, all the major networks were hesitant. They weren’t sure that this would work. Finally, one network agreed, so the cartoonist proceeded.
Everybody has favorite parts of the classic. We love to see Lucy’s reaction as Snoopy kissed her. We all felt bad for Charlie Brown when the gang turned on him and called him a “blockhead.”
My favorite part of the classic is when a frustrated Charlie Brown steps up and cries out, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Then Linus comes out to center stage, requests the spot light, wraps his blanket around his head, and begins reciting Luke 2, the story of Jesus’ birth. Linus then says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
Linus got it right! That is what Christmas is really about!
I have always been inspired by the boldness of Charles Schulz to include Charlie Brown’s question and Linus’ answer. I have read that while A Charlie Brown Christmas was being developed, the producers again warned Schulz that including the Luke 2 scene in the special would probably jeopardize its marketability. Some of the experts were convinced that the religious message would definitely cause it to be rejected by the networks.
I love Charles Schulz’s response. Those warnings did not deter him. He had conviction. His response was, “If not us, then who is going to do it?”
I think we are at a point in society today where we need to stand up and not be so sensitive about what people might think if we tell the real meaning of Christmas. We can’t let commercial enterprises or people committed to secular values keep us from answering Charlie Brown’s question.
Dedra Shannon, a teacher at Patterson Middle School in Killeen, Texas, was told she had to remove her poster featuring Linus, the scrawny tree, and the beautiful recitation of the true meaning of Christmas. She was basically told that Linus could stay, but the Baby Jesus had to go. Dedra Shannon refused to compromise her Christian belief.
When Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, heard about it, he acted. He cited the “Merry Christmas Law of 2013” which prevented this kind of discrimination. Paxton said to leave the poster up. Todd Starnes reports it this way: “Ken Paxton decided it was time to jingle somebody’s bells. He dropped a big Yuletide Truth bomb on Killeen Independence School District. His message was that you don’t mess with Texas and you don’t mess with Christmas, or you might just find your tinsel in a twist!”
I’m glad that the teacher, the Attorney General of Texas, and many others, have stepped up to answer correctly the question that Charles Schulz asked. May God increase their tribe!
Here are two big questions for Christmas: “What is Christmas all about?” and “Do you and I have the courage to answer like Schulz – ‘If not us, then who is going to do it?’”
Ask God to grade your answers to these two questions!
John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.1
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