What if Linus is right? In A Charlie Brown Christmas our favorite bald-headed boy is roped into directing the Christmas play as part of Lucy's 5-cent answer to Charlie's (there is one point in the show where Lucy calls him only by his first name) dilemma about finding the meaning of Christmas. In the midst of dealing with the frustrations of directing a bunch of unsupervised children, Linus tells Charlie Brown the story of the first Christmas from the gospel of Luke:
Linus Van Pelt:
"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 unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to
all 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, good will toward men.'"
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt:
That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
What if that is what Christmas is all about. Not getting--or even giving--presents ("For God so love the world that He gave His only beloved Son"). Not shopping, caroling, or even decorating trees. It's not even about family or being home for the holidays (consider that because of Jesus' birth, his family had to flee their country to take refuge in Egypt).
Consider who the angel says is born to the shepherds: a Savior (someone to save us from all the trouble we get ourselves into), Christ (meaning "anointed"--meaning a King to reign from a Heavenly throne), and Lord (someone we kneel before and give control to). The angels know this is reason to praise God. They know that this birth will one day bring peace, and that His birth is for the greatest good of all humanity.
So how does these good tidings change our Christmas? Does it mean we need to get rid of family gatherings, presents, Christmas trees, and general holiday mirth? Definitely not. But it should change our hearts. Our focus should be something greater than making a list of things we want. Most of all, our focus should be on the One who came at Christmas.
And that is the good news. God came down and dwelt amongst us; Emmanuel: God with us. He is present. We are not alone. He knows us. He loves us. No fear, great joy, peace, good will, and glory to God.
What if Linus was right about Christmas? I think that sounds like good news. Very good news.