Whether or not you watched the tribute, I’m betting nearly everyone here has seen A Charlie Brown Christmas itself. And I’m betting you remember the premise: near the beginning Charlie Brown gets in a funk and laments, “I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy.” And so he goes on a search for the reason behind what we’re doing here tonight.
It’s amazing how a cartoon show has proved so unforgettable. Schroeder playing Jingle Bells on the piano for Lucy, Sally writing Santa a letter that ends, “make it easy on yourself: just send money,” Charlie Brown seeing his sad little tree collapse under the weight of one ornament and exclaiming “I killed it,” and of course Linus, sucking his thumb and clutching his ever-present security blanket from which he can’t bear to be separated. (Did you know we owe that concept to Peanuts? It has an older use as a military term, but only thanks to Linus did “security blanket” come to mean something you hold onto to provide psychological comfort and ease your fears.)
Linus: he steals the show, doesn’t he? Charlie Brown’s in complete despair at his inability to get anything out of this season, he cries out for somebody to tell him what Christmas is all about, and Linus steps onto the stage of the school play to recite what? Tonight’s Gospel, which we just heard proclaimed by Deacon Chris. They were nervous, even 50 years ago, about putting so long a passage from the Bible on TV. Too controversial. But Charles Schultz’s long experience of personally studying and even teaching Scripture won out, and we heard the Word of God loud and clear. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.