One of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching the old television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I love how the chaotic commercialism of Christmas preparations give way to that moment when Charlie Brown screams out the question, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” And Linus takes center stage, and he simply recites a part of the Chrsitmas story in the Gospel of Luke 2:8-14. It is the part of the Christmas story about angels visiting weary shepherds, announcing the birth of the Messiah and praising God. “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men,” the angels say in the story from the Bible. “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus says in the old television special. And I have always loved that moment. It is just so beautifully innocent and simple, so gentle, so kind.
This year, after a year of pandemic lockdowns, we are all rebuilding our Christmas traditions, and we have a chance to do things differently. I know, as I rebuild my Christmas traditions, I do not want simply to return mindlessly to all the things that marked Christmases in the past. And while I do not yet know exactly what, if anything, I will end up changing, I want to think about each activity that comes up, every old necessity of my traditional Christmas celebration. And I want to choose actively to keep as a part of my Christmas celebration only those things that tend to quiet the chaos, simplifying things so that the message of good news to a weary world, as well as to my own weary heart, can have center stage.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards us all.
For that’s what Christmas is all about….
–Pastor Don Steele