There are a several holiday classics that my family and I enjoy watching every year at Christmas. My clear favorite is Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Since I am something of a cartoon connoisseur it would surprise no one that I would pick Charlie Brown. But the real reason I watch this one over and over again is the story of Charlie Brown’s search for the meaning of Christmas. He talks to people, looks to acquire a tree, directs a Christmas play, and tries to find in things, activities, and people the end to his search. Just when he throws up his hands and believes he will never find its true meaning, Linus humbly and unassumingly declares that he can tell Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about. And he proceeds to quote the birth narrative of Jesus from this account of Luke.
Worshiping the Christ Child exposes the folly of searching for meaning in certain activities, other people, and the acquisition of stuff. When approaching the manger we find that our quest for purpose and our place in this world becomes satisfied in God becoming a baby. Doubt begins to melt into faith; despair starts to give way to unbounded joy; and, solidarity with the angels erupts in joining the heavenly chorus: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Indeed, we have found the pleasure of God through our pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Too many people will be disappointed this season because family has let them down, their Christmas presents only satisfy for a moment, and all the food preparation and its consumption was so temporary. But the true meaning of Christmas, with its lasting effects of peace and joy not only last for a season – they remain through the year and lead to eternal life. Praise the name of Jesus. Thank you, Lord.
Gracious God, you have sent your Son into the world to redeem all the earth. I not only focus on Jesus today, but choose to remember him all the year through. May the true meaning of Christmas be renewed in my life today so that I might join the angelic chorus of adoration to you, and know Jesus. Amen.