A Christmas Lesson Learned from Charlie Brown

Now that Thanksgiving is over we can set our minds on Christmas. Christmas, while not celebrated everywhere or by everyone, is a holiday that has been around for centuries. In fact over two thousand years. The birth and subsequent life, death and resurrection of Christ is the foundation from which our modern Christmas evolved. The very word Christmas or Crīstesmæsse, in Old English, means Christ's mass. What started as a religious celebration has evolved into a secular holiday observed by people of faith and people with no religious inclination at all. 



I thought it would be fun to share with you a few of the lessons I have learned from my favorite Christmas movies. Perhaps one of the most iconic programs that has been replayed on television since 1965 is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I have been watching this program since I was tiny. Its telecast was waited for every year after Thanksgiving by my brothers and I, because we knew it meant Christmas day was not far away. 

As I've gotten older, A Charlie Brown Christmas has become important to me for different reasons. The 30 minute show embodies the whole New Testament meaning of Christmas. In Linus' speech he quotes Luke 2:8-14. Linus is trying to help his friend Charlie Brown understand the true meaning of Christmas. In all honesty that scene always makes me tear up! Perhaps because it never gets old to be reminded "That God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16 NASB)

So what is the lesson I learned from good old Chuck? Simply put, it has to do with child-like faith. There is a certain amount of wonder involved in the whole Christmas story. As far as that goes, there is a certain amount of wonder for many children at Christmas time. The lights, the stories of Santa Claus and flying reindeer, the magic of Christmas!



Bear with me while I go down a rabbit trail. I'll get back to Charlie Brown and child like faith in a moment. Another of my favorite Christmas movies (there are very few I don't like) is The Santa Claus. In one memorable scene a cute female elf tries to explain a key point to a befuddled Tim Allen.

Children have a much easier time believing without seeing. Many children believe in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Why? Because for them it is easy. They haven't had life work its eroding effect on their simple faith.

Charlie Brown had become something of a skeptic. He looked at the world around him and could only see the materialism of Christmas decorating contests, aluminum trees and being one of the in people who get invited to Christmas parties. He had forgotten what the whole point of Christmas was. The birth of a tiny baby. The Son of God.

If a child can so easily believe in the magic of Christmas why shouldn't I as an adult also believe in the true meaning of Christmas. It all comes down to child-like faith.

And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.’
— Luke 18:15-17 (NASB)

Those are some pretty powerful words from the Lord Jesus Himself. Child-like faith is important, not just at Christmas, but in our relationship with Him. 

I know that Christmas can be a very difficult time of year for many people. People who are struggling or suffering may decide they don't want to celebrate Christmas any more because it is too painful. But the true meaning behind Christmas didn't happen to prolong or enhance our suffering. No! Christ came to end our suffering. 

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

— John 10:7-10 (NASB)

Jesus is our good shepherd. He desires that we have abundant life. That doesn't mean life won't be hard. What it does mean is He will always be there, helping me day in and day out, to live the best life I can for His glory. 

Children have this amazing capacity to still see the good even when the situation is difficult. It is with that sort of faith and hope that Christ wants us to live life.

I hope that you will join me and revisit the idea of child-like faith. It might make our Christmas Day and the days leading up to it, a bit more magical!