One of the best loved Christmas TV shows is a Charlie Brown Christmas. Without a doubt, my favorite part is when Linus explains what Christmas is all about after Lucy, Linus’s sister, proclaims what she thinks the meaning of Christmas is. Earlier in the show, Lucy tries to get Schroeder to play Jingle Bells on the piano, by saying Christmas is about, “Jingle Bells, Santa Claus, Ho-Ho-Ho, and mistletoe, and presents for pretty girls.” Then Linus, good old security blanket carrying Linus, takes the stage, asks for, “lights please,” and tells Charlie Brown, and indeed all who are there to watch, including us, what Christmas is really all about.
Linus tells us about the angels appearing to the shepherds in the Gospel of Luke. There were shepherds out in the fields in the middle of the night—the most dangerous time to be a shepherd. In the darkness they had to protect the sheep from human marauders and animals preying on the herd. It is no wonder when the angel appeared to them with all the Lord’s glory that they were scared out of their skin. The angel said, “Fear not, for see I am bringing you good news of great joy that will be for all the people; to you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Jason Soroski pointed out something on his blog I hadn’t paid much attention to. He wrote the following observation: throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally, and others all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket, and even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the otherwise mature and thoughtful Linus, he simply refuses to give it up. Until this moment when he simply drops it. In that climactic scene when Linus shares, “what Christmas is all about,” he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it, when he utters the words, “fear not.”
Linus drops the blanket when he recounts the angel message of the good news of great joy for all people that Jesus is born. He doesn’t need it anymore because he is no longer afraid. Jesus’ birth is still good news that has the power to free us from our fears. Jesus came to give us a life that is free from fear. And 2,000 years later, we are still invited to choose a better way, a better life, a better world. We are still invited to hear good news of great joy for all people. We are still invited to “fear not” and just drop the blanket.