When I was a kid, and even up to this day, there’s no Christmas special I look forward to quite like “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. You can have your “Silent Night’s”, your “Holly Jolly’s” and your “fa la la la la’s”: There’s nothing like the rolling piano beat of Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” to get me in the mood of the holidays. There’s also something about when Linus steps out on that stage and says, “Light’s please?” that just makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
It wasn’t until years after I first began watching it, when the story that Linus tells, (Luke 2:8-14), really began to resonate with me. I slowly began to realize, hey, they’re talking about Jesus here. Charles Schulz put God smack dab not only into a kid’s holiday special, but smack dab into the middle of Christmas! Again! Where He should have been all along! And the theme of rampant commercialism over the true meaning of Christmas resonates just as loudly today as it did when Mr. Schulz wrote it almost 50 years ago. (Black Friday slowly becoming Black Thursday? Not even waiting for the turkey to settle before tempting us with cheap cell phones and 50” T.V.’s??! Really!!??)
One of the things today that strikes me most about “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is how easily the story of Jesus’ birth fits into the narrative of Schulz’ story. It seems neither forced nor contrived. It’s just a round-headed kid talking to the kid with the blanket about what the holiday season has become…and how it doesn’t seem like it should really be this way…that it just feels like there should be more…
And the other kid simply saying, I can answer that…“Light’s please?”
It also speaks to me about the whole idea of legacy over legend. Legends can be as contrived as you want them to be. Striking! Outlandish! That’s kind of the point. The mo’ grand, the mo’ eye-popping, the mo’ betta.
Not so with a legacy. A legacy never seems forced. A legacy never seems surprising. It should have a natural flow, resonating from a place of intimate knowledge to a place of receptive learning; from year to year, age to age, and from generation to generation. This is why, despite even the controversy surrounding it when it first aired back in 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is even more popular today; becoming one of if not the most anticipated holiday specials of the season. It’s a simple little story about a boy and his friends, and the search for the true meaning of Christmas. A story that Linus and Mr. Schulz weren’t afraid to share.
How about you?