Who is Your Linus this Christmas?
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 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 and goodwill towards men. – Luke 2:8-14
...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. – Linus, A Charlie Brown Christmas
In all honesty, I have a love/hate relationship with all the preparation and decorating for Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas decorations. I have been known to go into one of those year-round Christmas shops...in June...and to have walked out with my purchase while dreaming of the holiday season in all of its Thomas Kinkadian splendor.
I can almost see my husband in the kitchen lovingly making the perfect cup of hot cocoa and my children snuggling on the couch in their fuzzy reindeer PJ's while they watch A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Warm. Cozy. Peaceful. The “perfect” Christmas always exists so clearly in my mind.
Unfortunately, the reality is always less Thomas Kinkade and more Christmas Vacation.
The reality is that my children are probably too busy fighting over the last store-bought Christmas cookie to even notice that I am trying to decorate the tree while singing and dancing along with Linus and Lucy. And, the reality is that they are
probably definitely not wearing the fuzzy reindeer PJ's, because who has time to go out and buy those on top of all the other things?
Perhaps it might do me good each Christmas season really watching this beloved cartoon. There is something about that sad little tree that Charlie chooses - the only real, though less than stunning tree left in the lot among the other silvery and shiny "perfect" trees. I mean, you have to love a guy like Charlie Brown and his faith in that tree.
Truth be told, though, I see myself in Charlie's friends. I'm afraid I'm too often caught up in the commercialism and pressure of having the perfect Christmas. I'd be quick to join Charlie's pals as they make fun of his less than perfect tree.
Leave it to the lovable Linus, though, to remind us of the error in our ways. Who doesn't love that classic scene when Linus steals the show - alone with his blanket, center stage, and a single spotlight shining down. Year after year, we are moved to reach out to Charlie and his tree. And with the simple act of offering our love and compassion, the tree is transformed.
I can't help but wonder, just like Charlie's friends who scoffed at his tree, how many of us would have thought a manger in Bethlehem to be less than ideal? To be less than “perfect”…for Christmas?
And just as Charlie’s friends offer their love and transform the tree, it is the arrival of Jesus – the arrival of love - which transforms the manger. For it is not the details, the decorations or the presents, but the presence which transforms Christmas.
As we hustle and bustle around this season, let us not forget that we can only do so much in making this the “perfect” Christmas season. While the generous hospitality of our friends and family is a blessing and a gift in and of itself, might we also remember that we have already received the perfect gift.
Discussion Questions: Who or what is your “Linus”? How are you reminded of the true meaning of Christmas?
See more devotions from Holli and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.