At some time in the weeks of December you will have the opportunity to watch, on TV, the classic cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas. It has aired on national prime time television for more than 50 years. Actually, beginning in 1965. My daughter, Kim, was born that year. And, she grew up watching the show every year, and, in fact, still does.
In a world where the technology changes every week due to new advances discovered, and when nothing remains new more than a few months, something than endures for 50 plus years has to cause us to take notice as something quite meaningful.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is both nostalgic and full of Christmas spirit.
In the story, the kids are putting on a Christmas play. We don’t see those so often anymore in our churches, and certainly not in our schools. That, of course, might possibly offend someone whose Savior is not Jesus Christ. But, Linus was chosen to recite Luke 2:8-14.
Now, if you will remember, Linus was the little boy who had a real attachment to his blue blanket That blue blanket was his constant companion and life just was not right if it was not in his possession at all times. You may have known a child who had that same affection for his or her “blankie.” Perhaps, you had an attachment, as Linus did, for one of those “security blankets”.
So, Linus memorized Luke 2:8-14. And, you know, when you memorize Scripture, it actually becomes a part of you. That is what is known as Scripture being hidden in your heart.
Here is Linus’ speaking part:
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 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. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
As Linus speaks his part, perfectly reciting every word, something significant happens. It probably goes unnoticed by most people viewing the show.
At verse 10, just as Linus says, “Fear not” HE DROPS THE BLANKET! Right in the middle of speaking, Linus drops the blanket.
Charlie Brown is best known for his striped shirt, and Linus is most well-known by his ever-present security blanket. Throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and others constantly attempt to separate Linus from his blanket. They were never successful. Linus surely knows that his obsession with his blanket causes others to ridicule him, but he still refuses to give it up.
Until right here at this moment. Right here at verse 10. When he simply drops it.
What really happened there in that scene? Linus, simply reciting what he has practiced over and over again in preparation, shares what Christmas is all about. And, because of the power of that telling of the story of the birth of the Christ child, he hears, “Fear Not”, and he drops his security blanket. He knows and understands that this child was the One who can take away all fear, who can bring peace to the world, was big enough to take away his need for a security blanket.
It is clear that Charles Schultz, the author and artist who created the Charlie Brown and Peanuts characters, used something even a child can grasp and understand. It is so simple. It is so vital to our understanding of why Jesus came to us.
The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.
The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits (or security blankets) we are unable, or unwilling to break free from by ourselves.
The birth of Jesus allows us to drop the false security we have been holding onto so tightly, and learn to trust Him and to hold on tight to Him instead.
This world can be a scary place, and most of us find that we need something which promises us security – however temporary it might be. More, each day, our world is becoming one in which we find it difficult to “fear not.”
But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on to inspire us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found. And, when we have found true peace and security, we can safely “drop the blanket” and “Fear Not.”
Gary K. Fair
02 December 2020
Adapted from an article by Jason Soroski