I just love a great story, don’t you? In fact, I love them so much I have devoted a great portion of my life to telling them.
Just so you know, I think I am pretty good at it. The rest of my family may agree or they may not, but the one thing they all agree on is that they each have had to endure a kazillion of them.
I think that is why I love Christmas so much. For three or four days, they all have to listen to my stories because they just have no way to escape. After all, I am getting old, and it seems to me that is the least they can do for an old man.
My favorite story, of course, is Luke’s version of the birth of Jesus. Matthew, Mark and John each have their version, but there is just something in the way Luke tells it that makes it more like poetry. My favorite rendition of the Christmas story is told by Linus of Peanuts fame.
You may remember that Linus is trying to improve Charlie Brown’s spirits after Charlie Brown picks the worst Christmas tree for the Peanuts gang. In a great moment of monologue history, Charlie Brown asks the question, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
The following one minute and 18 seconds proves to be the perfect answer to the question in what was the second most watched show of the week when it first aired on CBS in 1965. In a voice as mild and meek as the savior he described, Linus began:
“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; you 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, goodwill toward men.”
That, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.