Others Devotional, volume 14

A Charlie Brown Mindset by Sue Batchelor

Scripture: “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!'” Luke 2:8-14

I remember as a child the excitement of Christmas. The anticipation of the time spent with family, baking, decorating the Christmas tree and the house to reflect the merriment of the season, sharing of gifts, and even watching all the television specials that came with the season. Long before the Hallmark Channel existed, there were regular Christmas shows that we could look forward to every year, like Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. In my home when I was growing up, those TV shows that now seem so archaic were highly anticipated as a part of ushering in the season. Since I was a big Snoopy fan, my favorite was A Charlie Brown Christmas, even before I could appreciate the fact that it was one of the few programs, if not the only program, that used scripture to explain the true meaning of Christmas. In the show, Charlie Brown bemoans the greediness of his friends and the commercialism of the season, from gaudy fake Christmas trees to over-the-top decorations. He struggled with directing the Christmas play as his friends wouldn’t settle down to practice, and everything became more and more flashy. Finally, in exasperation, near the end of the show, Charlie Brown yells, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is about?” And Linus answers, “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” He steps to center stage, asks for a spotlight, and begins to recite Luke 2:1-14. As he gets to verses 8-10, he begins to smile and even drops his security blanket as he recites the part about good news and great joy in today’s passage.

For over 50 years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has played, sharing the real message of Christmas. We have probably heard these passages from Luke 2 in church so many times we may not even pay much attention to them anymore, but consider the words, “Fear not”, “Good news of great joy for all the people” “Peace among those with whom He is pleased”.

It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season and forget that we have a real reason to celebrate, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. As believers, we can trust God to be with us, to give us the strength to get through difficult times, and yes, give us a peace that is not as the world gives, but can only come from Him. Our joy comes trusting in Him. But as we experience His joy and peace, we need to remember that we live in a world that is filled with hurting people who have lost loved ones, are dealing with difficult family or health situations, or are struggling financially. This season may be a painful time that is made worse by the expectation that Christmas time is supposed to be a time of warm fuzzy happy moments. Instead of getting so busy that we forget God’s great gift to us, we can share God’s peace with those with whom we come in contact each day. Maybe you can pray with a friend struggling in school, or making decisions about their future after high school, or maybe you can smile and be friendly to a checker at a local store who has probably been dealing with some not so pleasant people throughout their shift. This Christmas, make it a point to share Jesus in our actions, by considering others as more important than ourselves (yes, even when we’re driving) and by our words (At the middle school, we’re writing cards to give to those who may feel alone at this time of year). We have the good news of great joy, and we can be like the shepherds after they see Jesus, as told in Luke 2:20: “20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the indescribable gift of Your Son and for the joy and peace that comes from knowing Him. Teach us to live our lives in a way that glorifies and praises you. Help us consider others and to reach out to them with your love, especially as we celebrate the gift of Your Son.

About the Author: Sue Batchelor is originally from Green Bay, WI, but has spent the last 30 years in California. She is a devoted Packer fan, even after all these years. She is married to Eric, and has 4 children, 3 of whom are in their 20’s and one 19-year-old. She teaches science at the middle school and is very thankful to be in a school where science can give all the glory to God.

Originally published on December 15, 2016.

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