This month “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired on national primetime television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 50 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.
I am a fan of all things nostalgic and all things Christmas, and so when the two are combined I am hooked. The Charlie Brown Christmas special falls squarely into that category.
I was in the first grade back when they still performed Christmas pageants in schools (less than 50 years, but still a very long time ago), and our class performed a version of the Charlie Brown Christmas. Since I was kind of a bookworm and already had a blue blanket, I was chosen to play the part of Linus. As Linus, I memorized Luke 2:8–14, and that Scripture has been hidden in my heart ever since.
But while working so diligently to learn those lines, there is one important thing I didn’t notice then, and didn’t notice until now.
Right in the middle of speaking, Linus drops the blanket.
Charlie Brown is best known for his uniquely striped shirt, and Linus is most associated with his ever-present security blanket. 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” (at :38 seconds).
Looking at it now, it’s pretty clear what Charles Schulz was saying through this, and it’s so simple it’s brilliant.
The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.
The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves.
The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to him instead.
The world of 2015 can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, 2015 is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.”
But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found.