From Thanksgiving to New Years, our televisions will be littered with dozens of “Christmas events.” You know what I’m talking about. Whether it be the 24-hour “A Christmas Story” marathon or Chevy chasing a SQUIRREL through the Griswold living room in “Christmas Vacation.” I can honestly say that nothing even comes close to communicating the significance of Christmas like Linus reading Luke 2 at center stage in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
I’m sure you remember the scene. Charlie Brown and Linus returned from Christmas tree shopping. They didn’t get the modern tree that Lucy had requested. Instead, they got a limb nailed to a board. They set the “tree” on the piano and the criticism ensues…
Violet said, “Boy, are you stupid Charlie Brown. You were supposed to get a good tree. Can’t you even tell a good tree from a poor tree?”
Patti sighed, “You’re hopeless Charlie Brown.”
And then ever critical Lucy barked, “You’ve been dumb before, but this time you bit it.”
The children all laugh and leave a forlorn Charlie Brown alone with Linus. Charlie Brown said, “I guess you were right Linus; I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I don’t really know what Christmas is about. Isn’t there anyone who understands what Christmas is all about?”
That’s when Linus interjects a little Biblical truth into our lives.
I find the temptation very real to get caught up in the Holiday Hype. Whether it is going overboard on gifts or decorations or simply forgetting the true reason for the season. But the Holiday Hype really has nothing to do with Christmas.
In many ways, the rich young ruler of Mark 10 has a problem similar to the Holiday Hype. He’s caught up on things. The bottom of his Christmas tree would be stacked with a load of gifts with his name on them. He’s a “good” guy, follows all the rules, even says Merry Christmas. But in doing all the right things, he missed the most important thing. We’re told that when Jesus confronted him in this matter that he walked away from the encounter grieving, “because he had many possessions.”
This is a good thing to remember as the gifts pile up and as the bills for the gifts pile up in January. Ultimately, no gift given this Christmas will last. The toys will break or be outgrown. The clothes will tatter. The tools will rust. But the message of Christmas will last forever. Maybe we all need Linus to come to the center stage of our lives and remind us of the true reason for Christmas.