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Charlie Brown Holidays

November 27, 2007

My son, Jack, asked me the other day why in the world people would give Charlie Brown rocks on Halloween. I told him that’s just the way it was for Charlie Brown. Nothing ever went right for him…at least not in the scheme of the way things went for Lucy, Linus and all his other acquaintances. To me, Charlie Brown had a longing in his heart to “know and experience” more in life…he just couldn’t seem to get a leg up or a handle on how to do it.My favorite Peanuts cartoon is Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the fact that he sees potential in that little scraggly Christmas tree. I love the fact that he is so put out by all the commercialism and other stresses of Christmas. I love the fact that he comes to his wit’s end and screams out, “Can anyone tell me the true meaning of Christmas?”

You know, we think that Linus is the hero there…because he steps into the spotlight and begins to divulge the Christmas story — the true meaning of Christmas. I guess many of us are a lot like Linus. We can go through the motions of the holiday season, enduring all the stresses and taking for granted that every one else is doing the same thing — and that they all know what the true meaning of Christmas is.

I wonder though, why didn’t Linus figure out sooner that his friend was struggling? And I wonder, how many of our own friends may also be struggling through this holiday season because they too want to “know and experience” more in life, but just can’t seem to get a leg up or a handle on how to do it. And, are we (who know) waiting for them to scream out for help?

I grew up in a family that would have professed to be Christian. We did have some Christian influence on the fringes. And though I knew that Christmas was the birthday of Jesus, I never really experienced any of that true meaning of Christmas during my childhood holidays. I guess the most special Christmas I ever experienced was the one of 1980…the year I was saved. I finally had a handle on it.

However, I have some cousins who grew up in a cult religion. (In my opinion) They never celebrated any of the so-called “pagan holidays” that we did…Halloween, Christmas or Easter. My uncle (their father), who was a minister within that religious sect, blasted us for our participation in the “days of the devil.”

Now, I’ll give him Halloween. I don’t like it either. But I didn’t understand why he put Christmas and Easter in the mix. I know now it was because of Santa and the Easter Bunny…and again, I’ll give him his props on those elements having a tendency to distort the “real story.”

But, they didn’t celebrate Christmas or Easter in any way…and I am not altogether sure they even knew anything about God’s plan of salvation or His Son, Jesus. In fact, once when a family member got saved and baptized…they laughed at her and asked “what do you think you are saved from?” Hmmmm!

It was only a few years back that one of my cousins (from that family) started going to a Baptist church. Christmas season rolled around and all of the sudden the lights went on for him and he urgently had to proclaim to his entire family…”Christmas is about Jesus!” He went around to everyone asking, “Did you KNOW that Christmas is about Jesus…not Santa at all?”

At first I thought, “Well, duh!”

Then I realized how lost he had been…and how many opportunities had passed by that I could have been Linus and said, “I know the real meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown.” But I didn’t.

And now as I am looking toward the coming weeks and recognizing all the busy-ness and commercialism that will come with these “holi-days” — my heart is tender for the many faces I will encounter that may be like my cousin…or Charlie Brown…or even me as a little child, who just needs someone to help them see the TRUTH of the season.

My prayer is that God will give me the words or actions necessary…so that whatever I say or do…it will not seem trite or in vain…but genuinely shed His Light on such precious moments.

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