Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | December 18, 2015

December 18, 2015 “Fear Not”

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord”. (Luke 2: 10-11)

Good Morning Good Friends!

One of the most celebrated of all Christmas traditions is the trimming of the Christmas tree. We bedeck our Christmas trees with lights, ornaments, ribbons and bows, and candy canes. Atop the tree usually sets a glowing star or an angel. Beneath the tree are wonder gifts of all sorts. It is a beautiful sight to behold. As I am decorating the tree, I am reminded of that wonderful animated feature “A Charlie Brown Christmas”,almost as much of a holiday tradition as trimming the tree itself. In the story by Charles Schultz, Charlie Brown finds himself dismayed by the commercialism of the holiday. It is suggested by “Dr. Lucy” that in order to regain the Christmas spirit, he should direct the annual Christmas pageant. One of the assignments of his directorship is the selection of the tree for the pageant. Instead of choosing a beautiful tree, Charlie picks a rather scrawny, sad-looking tree which is met with ire by those in the play…with the exception of Linus Van Pelt, Lucy’s brother. While other films of the season may illustrate spiritual truths, Schultz’s production states things most plainly through his characters. Here is a famous dialog from the film that the networks wanted cut from the film. At Schultz’s insistence, it is left in and poignantly makes the point regarding the meaning of Christmas:

Charlie Brown: I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights, please.

 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,  ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.’” That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”.

Now I have watched this program countless times since it was released fifty years ago. It’s a holiday tradition. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I came across a little-heralded yet quite significant moment that takes place in the course of Linus’ recounting of Luke’s gospel noted by a man named Jason Soroski. Mr Soroski references this iconic scene and points out that Linus, who always carries a security blanket with him wherever he goes (much to the ridicule of his friends), lets go of the blanket when he repeats the words of the angel who declares, Fear not”.  Linus’ perpetual need for this tangible security symbol is assuaged by the declaration of the birth of the Savior, who came to bring peace to all. “Fear not.”

Like Charlie Brown’s tree, Bethlehem was “the runt of the litter.”  God “decorated” the Bethlehem tree as we decorate our own. He adorned it with shepherds and angels…kings bearing gifts. He hung a star over it. He covered it with the spectacular Light of the World”, the greatest gift of all…His beloved Son. From this tree, the “Stump of Jesse” came the “Peacemaker of the World.” He banishes our fears. He sets us free. “Fear Not.” Christ is born! That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”.

O Holy Lord; What we may see as obscure and of little importance, you adorn with glory and greatness. May we see your glory displayed in simple things this year, and may it with rapturous glory be aglow with in us. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen!

 

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