I have a few annual Christmas TV traditions. One is watching “A Christmas Story” on Christmas Eve. TBS airs the story for 24 hours, so no matter where you start you always get to see a complete showing. My other Christmas TV tradition is re- watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Since its first airing in 1965, (53 years ago)

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” has become a “must see” classic. Lead character, Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the beginning of a
cheerful holiday season. He rants over the commercialism. Lucy suggests that the answer to his holiday doldrums is involvement, and she enlists him to direct the Christmas play. Willing to give it a go, he attempts to take charge, but with his leadership ignored and confronted with a list of complaints from the cast, his depression only worsens.

Determined to discover the meaning of the holiday and fend off his intensifying despair he concludes that what is lacking is a Christmas tree to set the mood. Off he goes, only to bring back the sorriest looking “Charlie Brown” tree on the lot. Of
course, he is scorned, mocked, laughed at, and humiliated. It is at this time he explodes in desperation and loudly asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus says he does, walks to center stage, and recites Luke 2:8-14. After he completes his reading, upbeat music resumes, a smile fills Charlies Brown face, and he picks up his tree to give it a proper decorating.

For me, this symbolizes the lifting of Charlie Brown’s heavy burden of depression in response to the gospel reading, leading to the discovery of the real meaning of Christmas. Even Linus lets go of his infamous security blanket as he reads. I realize life is not a cartoon and issues of depression are not as easily resolved. However, there is joy and celebration and praise when one discovers what Christmas is really all about.

My Christmas prayer is that we would all make that same discovery and make it an annual tradition!

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