Dec 232018
 

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “The unedited Christmas and the Perfect Tree”  (By:  Ron Woodrum)

It’s the king of all classic TV Christmas specials: “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. It first aired in 1965. We know the familiar scenes of Charlie Brown looking for the real meaning of Christmas; receiving no cards from anyone; Snoopy decorates his doghouse; Lucy has her Christmas pageant; Charlie picks out a tree that is pitiful and is laughed at for such a choice! Of course, Charlie cries out in frustration-“doesn’t anyone know what the true meaning of Christmas is?” At that moment Linus Van Pelt takes center stage telling Charlie-“I can tell you what Christmas is all about”. He then proceeds to quote the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke. He not only describes the angelic visit, but then quotes how the angels said, “Be not afraid…for unto you is born this day, in Bethlehem, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. This shall be a sign you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men'”. “That is what Christmas is all about!” Linus affirms. Recently I heard an interview of one of the creators of that show. When Charles Shultz, the creator of Peanuts, Charlie Brown, and that particular Christmas special suggested that particular drama he was met with strong opposition, and objection to airing that because of the inclusion of the message centering around Jesus…the Savior. The network wanted to edit out the part about Jesus being the central meaning of Christmas. The network wanted to tube the show. They feared there would be strong opposition to it, and it would result in loss of advertising. You know what Charles Schultz did? He stood his ground. He said, “If we don’t do it who will? We’re going to do it”…and the rest is history! With his groundbreaking project on the line, Charles Schultz refused to “edit out Jesus!” during that Christmas season in 1965. It took courage! God blessed him and us for that stand. How about us this Christmas. Are we willing to stand our ground and refuse to edit Jesus out of our Christmas pageants? That is exactly what the devil wants us to do. It is ok to celebrate the holidays! Enjoy the festivities. Just don’t get carried away with too much focus on Jesus. His virgin birth. His reason for coming. Stay away from themes like Incarnation-God with us-Salvation as an unspeakable gift due to Calvary!

Charles Schultz was a master to have Charlie Brown find all the commercialization of Christmas leave him empty and confused. He was a genius to make the center part of the pageant center around a little unattractive tree that everyone laughs at. Then of course to answer Charlie’s question about the meaning of Christmas with God’s answer from Luke’s gospel, through the person of Linus! Then Linus saying-“I never thought it was such a bad little tree at all really…maybe all it just needs is a little love!” And Charlie Brown saying, “This little tree needs a home. I think it needs me!” The unattractive tree becomes a beautiful part of the Christmas story. There are some subtle but significant messages in this pageant. When Linus hears the angel say, “Be not afraid”…he lays his security blanket down! Then that ugly tree seems to draw everyone to it to see it in a different light. When they do…they give it a home and love…and find a home and love of their own! -Through that tree! Subtle but significant message. Makes me think of a song by Ray Boltz-called the Perfect Christmas Tree. Listen to the words:

 

The ornaments are ready

The place has been prepared

Strings of lights and holly

Are draped across the chair

The family’s all together

I know where they must be

Everyone is searching

For the perfect tree

 

Mother wants a straight one

The children want it tall

Dad just hopes that somehow

He can get it down the hall

Soon they’ll gather round it

As proud as they can be

But when they’re look at it

I wonder if they see

 

The Perfect tree

Grew very long ago

And it was not decked with silver

Or ornaments of gold

But hanging from it branches

Was a gift for you and me

Jesus laid His life down

On that Perfect Tree

 

With all the celebrations

Sometimes the truth is lost

That every step this baby took

Brought Him closer to the cross!

 

That Perfect Tree needs some love and home. If you embrace the one who died upon it, it will bring the real meaning of love and Christmas to your home this Christmas. Don’t let anyone cause you to edit that message and that Savior out of your Christmas pageant. Embrace Him and you too can turn loose of any and all of those security blankets that are fulfilling your deepest needs anyway. That is the what Christmas means!

 Posted by at 6:30 pm

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