I think I have watched A Charlie Brown Christmas at least 10x’s in the past few weeks. Either hearing it being played in the background as I work letting the words echo through the wall of the house or just by laying on the floor by the Christmas tree taking in each scene as I did as a child. I have been trying to find the meaning behind what Charles Shultz was telling his audience.
This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the show and I began to wonder why you never hear much controversy about it since it contains scripture directly from the KJV bible that airs on most liberal channels. I noticed that the movie can be taken as a message to everyone, Christian or not. A Charlie Brown Christmas really makes the person stop and think as he uses each character to express all the distraction we all can easily get consumed with this time of year. Christmas time can become a roller coaster of emotions if we lose sight of the true meaning. Christian or not we can all relate to this movie easily.
Depression – Charlie Brown (Lucy tries to diagnose Charlie Brown with phobias that could cause his depression. Her solutions was “you need involvement”)
Commercialism – Snoopy’s Doghouse/Lights & Display contest/Fancy aluminum trees
Greediness & Contentment – Lucy and Sally Lucy enjoy the jingle of money at the beginning of the show. Sally has a rather long and specific list for Santa which also has a focus on large sums of money saying “all I want is what I have coming to me… all I want is my fair share”
Anger – Lucy “I’ll give you five good reasons.1…2…3…4…5” waving her fist at Linus
Criticism & Complaining – Charlie Brown’s peers “this will be the worse Christmas play ever” They would rather focus more on dancing to Jazz and Schroder playing the piano, snoopy on electric and Pig-Pen on bass. They would much rather have a play with everything but the true biblical story and actors. Rather they would have snow queens and penguins and jazz-rock playing.
Caught up in Decorations – (Snoopy 1st Prize Ribbon decorated doghouse and the fake trees).
When asked by Lucy to go and find a fancy pink aluminum tree from the tree lot, Linus and Charlie Brown find a tree that is to say “the least of these” compared to all the fancy trees in the lot. Charlie Brown being confused and depressed (“I don’t know Linus, I just don’t know”) picks the little humble tree. Linus reminds him what Lucy wanted, instead Charlie Brown listened to his heart as he said: “I don’t care, we will decorate it just right for the play, besides I think it needs me”. As they come back to the stage with the small sapling immediately Charlie Brown is scorned by Lucy and his peers and even a laughing snoopy. Charlie Brown has had it and he shouts “does anyone know what Christmas is all about!?”
Linus so sincerely and calmly tells Charlie Brown “sure I can tell you what Christmas is all about” then he announces “lights please” as he recites the meaning of Christmas in the bible found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 – 14,
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.”
Linus then walks over to Charlie Brown so humbly and tells him that this is what Christmas is all about. You then see Charlie Brown quietly exit the stage with a smile as if a peace has come over him. Charlie Brown walks home alone thinking the tree will be the solution to finding the reason for Christmas. Charlie Brown then walks to Snoopys “1st Prize Ribbon” decorated doghouse and removes a red shiny bulb to place on the tree. To his dismay, the tree falls over and Charlie Brown believes he killed the tree and has ruined everything and leaves. Realizing how difficult they were on Charlie Brown, Linus and the others find the tree and remove the decorations from the decorated doghouse and instead put them on the broken tree and sing Hark! the Harold Angels Sing. Charlie Brown then returns confused on what was going on and sees the little-broken sapling restored and decorated for Charlie Brown. Then they all tell him “MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE BROWN!”
A Lesson from A Charlie Brown Christmas
I believe Shultz is trying to tell his audience that with all the nonsense people put on themselves during this time of year with all the commercialism and loss of contentment, we forget why Christmas time is even here. He used both religious and non-religious examples to make a point that everyone can relate to as a reminder to love your neighbor and help the least of these. We shouldn’t isolate ourselves this time of the year or put our focus on materialism. Rather we need to love each other and lift one another up. We need to help the least of these, the depressed and even broken. God loved us so much that he helped the least of these (us) because He knew we needed Him by sending his son to us, just like Charlie Brown picked out the little sapling. God has picked us. We all need to put our focus on one another to lift each other up. This time of year we need to help those that are less fortunate, hurting, alone, ignored, down on their luck, and we need to go pick them up out of a “lot of trees” so-to-speak and be with them to show them there is still hope. It’s not for us to be glorified but to humbly go and do as Christ did for us. We were in need of a Savior as Charlie Brown was in need of that little humble tree.
“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” – Linus Van Pelt