It’s Christmas time again, which means, among other things, celebrating those family traditions. One that we always had in my house growing up was watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. There was something about the dopey Charlie Brown that you just have to feel sorry for….and enjoy watching.
It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized the big truth in the show – what Christmas is all about. Yes, I watched it for years and just saw a nice Christmas cartoon. But one day, something happened and it became more than a cartoon; it was a cartoon that included the message of salvation. All those years I watched and didn’t get the whole point of the show. I missed it like Charlie Brown did.
But then I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and my eyes were open to see what Linus saw – that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus….and more.
Most people in America have seen A Charlie Brown Christmas. In fact, when it first aired on December 9, 1965, half the people that were watching television were watching Charlie Brown. They were watching Linus with his security blanket tell Charlie Brown what real security was all about.
Like Linus, many of us have some kind of false security, whether we call ourselves a Christian or not. That blanket he carries around everywhere doesn’t do a lick of good. It makes him feel better, but it really doesn’t do any good. It’s not going to stop him from being attacked. It’s not going to stop him from being offended. It’s not going to protect him from getting hit by a football that Charlie Brown may kick in his direction….if he’d ever gets to kick it.
Much like Linus, we hold on to things, put our hope and trust in things, that really don’t do us any good. There’s a false sense of security that the piece of plexiglass is going to keep any bacteria from floating up and over it, or anyone from turning around and breathing on you. There’s a false sense of security that airport security inspectors are actually keeping bad things from happening (seriously, look it up). We have this false sense of security that if we’re good people and do good that good things are going to happen for us and everything is going to work out for us. Many people have that false sense of security that if they’re a ‘good person,’ that when they breathe in that last breath, that they’ll go to heaven, even though they have no basis for defining “good” or “evil” in their life. In short, they’re a sinner, like all of us, and no one has ever paid the price for that sin.
Honestly, if you just think on that, you could get into fear real quick – fear of the unknown, fear of what could be and what could happen, fear of what you can and can’t do or stop. You could let fear control your entire life. You could get into fear after hearing a loud trumpet coming from Heaven, or after hearing the heavenly hosts sing, or an angel appearing to you.
But God is quick to extinguish that fear when it comes to Him and those that are carrying out His will. When an angel appears to Zecharias, the husband of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, it is quick to cut out fear: “But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John (Luke 1:13).”
When the angel appeared to Mary, it was quick to stop fear as well, “Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God (Luke 1:30).” The angel said the same thing when it appeared to the shepherds in the field, “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people (Luke 2:10).”
Jesus separates us from our fears. When we come into a real relationship with him, and understand the love He has for us, fear is extinguished. Perfect love casts out fear. Psalms tells us, “The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? The Lord protects my life. So why should I be afraid (Psalm 27:1 NCV)?”
When watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, have you noticed what Linus does as he recites his monologue of Luke 2:8-14. Linus tells our bald headed pessimist, “Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” He continues, quoting Luke 2:8-10, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not…”
Then it happens. Have you seen it? Or like me as a child, did you miss the whole thing?
Linus drops his blanket. That security blanket that he carries everywhere. That security blanket that he wouldn’t give up for all the money in the world. He drops it. And he drops it at the words “Fear not.” It’s not just any “fear not.” It’s not like these were words from Charlie Brown, Lucy, or someone else. If they were, he would still be holding it. The words “Fear Not” came from an angel of the Lord Most High. It came from an ambassador of Heaven. It’s the same as if God Himself was saying FEAR NOT.
The words of man are simply false security – just like Linus’ blanket. A person saying Fear Not means nothing because honestly, what are they going to do? Yes, they can give some form of protection. But ultimately, no man can keep you from harm, from destruction, from death and the grave. No man can keep you safe from the wages of sin and Hell. Oh but God! At the Word of God, at the word of the Lord Most High – FEAR NOT becomes a truth for your life to be established on. It becomes the fresh, fertile soil to be planted in and not be moved. The Word of God, even spoken through an ambassador – through an angel or through a man – is enough, if you have faith in it, to keep you smooth in troubled times, on troubled seas.
At that Word – FEAR NOT – Linus can drop that false security and so can we. We can drop that false security of whatever it is – our ideas, our plans, our desires and thoughts – and pick up God’s plan, His desires, His will, His Word. We can put our hopes and trust in Him.
But let me take this a step further. Don’t just turn off the video there. Keep watching. Linus finishes up verse 14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” and picks his blanket back up and walks off. He picks that false security back up. We do the same thing. We hear the Word of the Lord, we drop our false security and we put it all in God, trusting in Him. But then something happens. Whether it’s hard times, getting carried away with the things of the world, things start to go good, or maybe we just don’t understand the Word – we drift away and pick that false security back up. We start putting trust back in our own ideas and our own plans. We pick that blanket up, just like Linus.
We’re not alone in this. Linus isn’t alone in this. Elijah stood against the prophets of Baal, and mocked them, yet right after his confrontation on Mt. Carmel ran in terror. The Apostle Peter walked with Jesus for three years, yet denied him three times when people suggested he knew the Master. Sometimes that blanket has been in our life for so long, it seems ‘natural,’ like it should be there. But it shouldn’t. That’s why Linus gets made fun of by Lucy. He’s too old for that blanket. He should grow up and leave it behind.
For Christians, we should mature beyond the things of the world. We should mature beyond the things that children do and move into those things that mature believers do – putting our confidence in God and His way of doing things, not our way. We should drop that blanket, that false security, and leave it on the ground and walk away – walk to God.
That’s not the end for Linus here though. At the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus shows us what we should do. The story is no longer about the tree that Charlie Brown has been searching for most of the show, but it’s about Jesus – what Christmas is all about, what life is all about. As the cartoon closes, it transitions from “Oh Christmas Tree,” focusing away from a tree, a thing, stuff, things we have done, things we have made happen. It transitions to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King.” We move from us and what we can do to what God has done and what God can do.
It’s not about the things that we have, or our way of doing things. It’s about Jesus. It’s about God’s way of doing things.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” – Galatians 3:13-14
Linus lays his blanket down at the Cross. Have you laid down your blanket at the cross or are you still holding onto it?