Saturday, December 23, 2006


The Real Meaning of Christmas in

(1965, TV-Animated, 30 min)

This is an example of the real meaning of Christmas being made explicit. In the short story Charlie Brown is recruited to direct the Christmas pageant at his school. He goes with Linus to buy a big shiny aluminum Christmas tree (they were all the rage in the 60s with a rotating colored light beneath flashing colors all over the room), but returns with a miserable, even scrawny real tree. Don't miss the simile. We go out looking for the King of Kings arrayed as a colorful, bright, and flashy royalty -- sequins even; but instead Christ was born into poverty and lived among the bales of hay in an obscure, smelly stable.

The explicitness takes two forms, one visual (the pageant) and two, in dialogue. In Charlie's search, Linus quotes Luke 2:8-14

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! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
The moral premise of A Charlie Brown Christmas might be stated like this:

Looking forward to getting leads to ambiguity; but
Looking to forward to giving leads to significance.

No comments: