One of my favorite things about this time of year are Christmas movies. I personally favor the comedies. Every year on Christmas Eve, I sit and watch “Elf” with my children. “Scrooged” and “Christmas Vacation” often get squeezed in as well.
I relish the classics, though, too. “A Miracle on 34th Street” always makes me smile. I could honestly watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” a thousand times.
In fact, I believe I have.
Oh, and who can forget about “Die Hard”? Contrary to what some Scrooges and Grinches will tell you, “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.
The movie I consider the most important and poignant Christmas movie of all-time, however, was not a blockbuster in theaters. In fact, it almost didn’t air. It was completed only ten days before its release date and all those involved in the project, including its producers, considered it an unmitigated disaster.
Despite their misgivings, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired on CBS on December 9, 1965. It immediately became a classic. Critics raved. People loved it.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was different than any other Christmas movie or special created up to that point. The cast was composed completely of children. No laugh tracks were added. The soundtrack was entirely comprised of jazz music.
Most shockingly, the climax of the movie finds Charlie Brown shouting in exasperation, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”, to which Linus responds by reciting Luke chapter two from the King James Version of the Bible.
Of the myriad of Christmas movies available to us on Netflix and The Hallmark Channel, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the only one I have ever seen which actually tells the real story of Christmas.
Just about every other Christmas movie contains some moral to their story. Christmas is about generosity. Christmas is about the holiday spirit. Christmas is about family. Christmas is about good will toward your fellow man.
Though all those “morals” are good in and of themselves, none are the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas isn’t about our good will toward our fellow man. Christmas is about God’s good will toward men.
Christmas is about God loving us so much he became one of us. Christmas is about the utter humiliation God submitted himself to – being born in a lowly manger, only to later die on an old rugged cross.
Christmas is about God taking your place, living the perfect life you haven’t and suffering the punishment of every bad thing you do so you could be forgiven and live with him in heaven.
Christmas is about God’s good will toward men. And that is what “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is remarkably all about.
So, go ahead and watch “Elf” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Die Hard.” Watch all The Hallmark Channel movies. But if you want to know what Christmas is really all about, the one you need to watch is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Or even better, if you really want to know what Christmas is all about, do what Linus did. Open up your Bible.
There you will find Jesus, the true meaning of Christmas.