The Charlie Brown Christmas special is a traditional family show watched in households across the country for years and years, and my kids and I always look forward to it. It is a fun cartoon to watch, but also a great reminder about how we can all lose our Christmas spirit, yet remembering the reason for the season will help us to find it again.
When Charlie Brown was walking with Linus through the snow to go ice skating, Charlie aired his feelings about the holidays to Linus:
“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel . I just don’t understand Christmas I guess. I like getting presents, and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.”
Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown? Wondering why you used to love the holidays, but now they seem more of a duty than a delight? Do you ever feel like something is missing? Like maybe Christmas is just not what it used to be?
Or maybe you know why your Christmas spirit has waned, but you do not know how to change it or get it back. Maybe it does not look the same as it once did, due to children growing up, families changing, divorces, remarriages, or the loss of loved ones, and as a result, you just do not have the same feelings about Christmas anymore. The passion is gone.
Charlie Brown knew in his heart that something was missing- he just didn’t know what.
All he knew, was that he longed for the joy and enthusiastic feelings that other people seemed to feel around the holidays. He wanted to know what had changed and where his Christmas spirit had gone. He just wanted to enjoy Christmas again.
The other day my teenage daughter said with a discouraged look on her face, “Mom, it just doesn’t ‘feel’ like Christmas. It feels different than in the past.” It was as if Charlie Brown’s statement above was spilling from her lips. Although she could not quite put her emotions into words, I understood completely what she was saying. I remember being her age, when Christmas began to “feel” different, seem less exciting, and more “ordinary”. When the magic of childhood innocence was gone, and the wisdom of adolescence had kicked in.
Her comment gave me an opportunity to remind her that life changes as we grow up, but Jesus remains the same. The thrill of celebrating His birth has to come from our hearts, not from our traditional practices, our age or our circumstances. Her comment opened the door for us to both to refocus on Christ, not just Christmas.
Linus reminded Charlie Brown of this truth as well, and helped him to see that what was missing from his Christmas, was the fact that they were celebrating the birth of the Savior, not the holiday season. He reminded Charlie, that Christmas was about Jesus – nothing less and nothing more. Just Jesus. Glory to God on the highest, and peace on earth. Let’s take a look at his speech:
(email subscribers will need to visit my homepage to view the movie clip)
I know it’ just a cartoon – and you may be thinking “aren’t we a little old for cartoons?” But Linus is a shining example of how the faith of one person can help other people rediscover true Christmas spirit. His passion about Christmas made other people feel passionate about Christmas too. In the same way, when we are passionate about Jesus and celebrating Him during the holidays, other people take notice and hearts can be changed – even if it’s only our own.
In today’s society, Christmas is under attack from every angle. We are universally discouraged from keeping Christ in Christmas. This is why we are told in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong ” (NIV)
Through standing up for our faith, and sharing the reason we celebrate, we can give the gift of Christmas spirit to someone who knows that something is missing, but just needs someone to help them find it.
As long as we carry the real reason for the season in our hearts and minds, nobody or no stage of life can ever take it away. Growing up, changing families, different circumstances, problems of life and the influences of a fallen world will always be a reality – but Jesus Was, and Is, and Always Will Be – and He is the reason we celebrate. He is where we find true Christmas spirit.