Friday, December 21, 2012

“The true meaning of Christmas”

...if you do not like what is sentimental and ceremonial, do not celebrate Christmas at all. — G.K. Chesterton
The commercial and tangential aspects of Christmas — those aspects which have nothing to do with the Incarnation of God in Bethlehem — are as criticized in our culture as they are celebrated, as we see in the well known television program A Charlie Brown Christmas, based on the characters from Charles Schultz's Peanuts comic strip, from 1965:



The animation and audio quality are rather poor, and the creative decision to use children for the voices (several of whom were too young to read the script) gives this a rather choppy quality. CBS executives thought that the Jazz soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi was unsuitable for a children's program. The executives believed that the show would be a flop; rather, it turned out to be one of the most successful television programs of all time.

The show starts with the protagonist, Charlie Brown, being depressed over the commercialism of Christmas, and even his dog Snoopy falls into this, decorating his doghouse in order to win a contest.  Brown asks “What is the true meaning of Christmas?” and he is answered by his friend Linus:
‘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.’

...That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
The studio executives thought that quoting sacred scripture was unsuited for television, but Schultz fought to keep it in. As far as I can remember, this is one of the few popular mainstream Christmas programs that actually mentions Christ.

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