In reading a wonderful post about a moment in the Charlie Brown Christmas program which can be easily missed, I was flooded with the joy of years passed.
One of the special memories I hold dear is of my children and I snuggling under the covers on my bed, watching Christmas specials. It never mattered whether it was Frosty, or Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer or Charlie Brown Christmas. It was always a special time.This morning I could not help but think about Charlie Brown.
How can we ever forget Charlie Brown? The little, depressed boy who is in search of the true meaning of Christmas? We even call that small, straggly Christmas tree on the lot, “The Charlie Brown Tree” and everyone knows what that means.
But I think the most telling part of the program is when he asks the question:
“Isn’t there anybody who can tell me what Christmas is all about?”
Thankfully, his little friend, Linus answers, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”
But did you know that this line almost did not make it into the program?
The executives did not want to have Linus reciting the story of the birth of Christ from the Gospel of Luke; the network orthodoxy of the time assumed that viewers would not want to sit through passages of the King James Version of the Bible. A story reported on the Whoopi Goldberg-hosted version of the making of the program stated that Charles Schulz was adamant about keeping this scene in, remarking, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” (wikipedia.com)
And you know what happened when it aired just the way that Charles Schulz created it?
To the surprise of the executives, it was both a critical and commercial hit. None of the special’s technical problems detracted from the show’s appeal; to the contrary, it is thought that these so-called quirks, along with several other choices, are what lent the show such an innovative, authentic and sincere feeling. For instance, Linus’s recitation was hailed by critics such as Harriet Van Horne of the New York World-Telegram who said, “Linus’ reading of the story of the Nativity was, quite simply, the dramatic highlight of the season.” (wikipedia.com)
It’s the question which has been asked down through the ages, “Isn’t there anybody who can tell me what Christmas is all about?”
May we always remember the courage of Charles Schulz and
share the true meaning of Christmas.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:11 KJV)
This is an edited post from 2011.