And the angel said to them. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10
As a child, the TV guide was a highlight of my Christmas season. Unlike today, children of the 70s and 80s had one shot at watching Rudolph, Frosty or Charlie Brown. The TV guide was your only path to walking in a winter wonderland of cartoons! Although I have outgrown Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas remains one of my favorites. Charlie Brown’s dilapidated tree choice and his attempt to produce a Christmas pageant has enchanted the airwaves since 1965. Besides the simplicity of the animations, Linus’ inspirational recital of Luke chapter two, the most popular portion of Christmas scripture, seems contrary to today’s secularization of cartoons. Yet, even in 1965, the producers of the cartoon were hesitant to air the special because of its spiritual message. Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts strip, was adamant about including the true meaning of Christmas, responding to the producer’s concerns by saying, “If we don’t do it, who will?” Schulz’s convictions proved to be right, earning the special a Peabody Award along with Emmy and Grammy nominations!
Recently, it was brought to my attention that Charles Schulz arranged for Linus to have a significant moment during the special! For those of who you are unfamiliar with Charlie Brown, his friend, Linus, carries a blanket wherever he goes. Even when his peers make fun of his security blanket, Linus clasps his blanket in defense, sometimes using it as a prop or a tool. During the Christmas special, Charlie Brown desperately asks his peers if anyone knows what Christmas really means. Clutching his blanket, Linus declares he knows, takes center stage, and begins quoting the Bible. When Linus gets to the portion where the angel tells the shepherds to “Fear not”, Linus drops his precious blanket and continues his recitation. This symbolic act of Linus reminds the audience that they have nothing to fear when Jesus is present!
This past week, I talked to four different women facing some intense challenges including job loss, family struggles, working in the medical field during a pandemic, and health issues. All of them were struggling with feeling anxious and overwhelmed by their situations, with undercurrents of fear. I can empathize with these women because their feelings are normal in this fallen world. But, like Linus, we can each let go of our “security blanket”, whether it is eating, shopping, or whatever else we use to self-soothe during these fearful moments. Instead, like the shepherds who went to see the newborn baby, we can spend time in the Bible getting to know Jesus more intimately than before. And, as we read, the angel’s message echoes across the centuries that, “I bring to you good tidings of great joy!”