Friday, 24 December 2010

That is What Christmas is All About Charlie Brown

This year I missed our annual watching of A Charlie Brown Christmas.  I love this cartoon and apparently others love it too. The first of nearly 50 Peanuts television movies, A Charlie Brown Christmas is the longest-running cartoon special in history, airing every year since its debut in 1965. The show itself includes scenes of ice-skating; a pageant (Mendelson and Schulz had both flubbed parts in school shows); a mix of Christmas carols and Guaraldi's contemporary jazz; and the message that Christmas is really about the joyful miracle of Jesus' birth. Whimsical, melancholy, and ultimately full of wonder, it is a holiday favorite for countless families.  But this cartoon classic almost didn't make it on the air.  It was criticized as being too religious—Linus quotes straight from the King James Bible (Luke 2:8-14). Even Charles Schulz admitted that he was probably the only one who could have gotten A Charlie Brown Christmas made.  The television execs may not have liked it but it was an instant hit with viewers and reviewers alike.
Schulz wanted A Charlie Brown Christmas to have the religious meaning that was central to his own experience and understanding of Christmas.  He wanted viewers to know that Christmas was really about Jesus.  As cute as the peanuts gang are they are not Christmas, and without the following scene where Linus speaks truth to his friend Charlie Brown, the show would not have nearly the same impact.

Tonight, we will gather with our family and our church family to celebrate and sing carols at our Christmas Eve service.  Later in the evening when we get into our PJ's, the kids, Jason and I will gather by the light our Christmas tree and we will read the truth about Christmas from Luke 2:1-20.  May we all get to share some truth with friends and family this Christmas!  Merry Christmas everyone!