Our Daily Bread (ODB.org) reminded me that its the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965, In the special, Charlie Brown is depressed over the commercialism of Christmas. Lucy suggests that he direct a Christmas play to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Some TV executives wanted Charles Schultz to omit the Christmas story, but he insisted on putting it in. Others felt that it wouldn’t matter because no one would watch the cartoon anyway.
In the cartoon, character Linus recites the true meaning of Christmas by quoting Luke 2:8-14, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour 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.”
After quoting the entire passage, Linus turns to Charlie Brown and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”.
The show was an immediate success. It was rewarded with high viewership ratings and acclaim from critics. It has been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award and it is still shown annually during the Christmas season. The soundtrack for the cartoon went triple platinum. During this time of year I still regularly hear songs from the soundtrack.
Laws can be enacted to remove the Nativity scene from government land and some people can make a concerted effort to only wish a Happy Holiday. Despite all that, 50 years of Charlie Brown still tells us on network television the true meaning of Christmas. No law has stopped that.
And for pic o’ day… maybe too much of a Christmas gift?