I tire of the saccharine-sweet marketing attempts to define Christmas. We hear that Christmas is all about love. Or peace on earth. It means gift-giving. It’s the season of sharing. Or wishes. Or Christmas miracles. It’s about dreams coming true. If you only believe. Usually, the definitions omit the name of Christ.
While love, peace, and giving are all wonderful things, attributes which reflect the very nature of God, Christmas is not about us attempting to love our neighbor. It’s not about us giving gifts to others. It’s about God demonstrating His love toward us in becoming one of us. I can’t imitate that kind of gift any easier than I can will myself to turn into an ant to try to communicate who I am to ants, proving my love for them by living a perfect ant-life among them and choosing to die to save them from death.
Christmas is not about us at all.
In 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired for the first time. It’s been viewed on TV every year since then. Not only is it a classic to watch, but Vince Guaraldi‘s musical score is one of my favorites. Turns out the network executives expected it to be a flop.
You know the story line. Charlie Brown, bothered by the commercialism of the season, so pervasive that even his dog Snoopy is affected, asks the question: “Can anybody tell me what Christmas is all about?” Linus steps onto center stage, asks for the spot light, and quotes the second chapter of Luke:
Linus finishes by saying, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” The show ends with the Peanuts gang singing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.’
The producers did not want Linus to recite the story of Jesus’ birth, convinced that the Bible (especially the King James Version) might offend viewers. Charles Schulz, however, insisted this scene remain, apparently saying, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?”
Who will tell the world what Christmas truly means? We will. It’s up to us.