A Savior in A Charlie Brown Christmas

We’ve all seen A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Emmy award-winning TV program that has charmed audiences for 50 years.

As Charlie Brown struggles with the commercialism of Christmas, Linus reminds him of what Christmas is all about.

The Christian messages are both obvious and subtle.

Linus was actually a contemporary of Paul and active in the early church.

The soundtrack includes the hymn, Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

When Linus quotes the Gospel of Luke to explain the message of Christmas, he spreads his little arms wide, like Christ, and he appears to have stigmata on his hands.

“. . . a savior . . .”

“. . . a savior . . .”

The Christ-like wounds appear when he says the word, “savior.”

The marks are gone, moments later, when he continues speaking and again holds his hands up.

Linus, no hands

“And this will be a sign unto you . . .”

(I’ve reached out to the office of executive producer Lee Mendelson for a comment, but haven’t received a response yet. I’ll update this when I do.)

This is an astonishingly clever moment in the program, but it is fleeting.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is simple and complex and subtle and obvious. Just as our faith ought to be.

Just like A Charlie Brown Christmas, after decades, our faith should remain familiar and as fresh and new as it was in the beginning. We must continue to grow and learn as we explore our faith. We must strive to see new things with old eyes. We should work to be better, and not remain who we have been. This is the promise of God.

The Savior is right there, in front of us the whole time, and we don’t even see it.

This is so simple, even a child can understand.

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