What Bliss Is This?
GOOD GRIEF! THE CHARLIE BROWN CHALLENGE
How well have we kept the manger and cross integrated into our execution of good tidings? As some of us have seen, cultural bents can reduce good tidings to spontaneous acts of short-lived compassion. So how do we righteously respond to such subtle sucking of holy verve?
Let’s think about Charlie Brown for just a minute. For all the verbal abuse Charlie Brown endured in “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, he actually had the right approach in his search for the true meaning of Christmas. As the show progresses, Charlie Brown becomes increasingly convinced that commercialism ruins Christmas. Before he figures out what Christmas is all about, he first comes to terms with what it isn’t about: money, Santa Clause, self-centered wanting, etc. Moving from fiction to real life, we find commercialism isn’t the only bug that congests Christmas spirit.
If I sound condemning, then accept my forgiveness; I don’t mean to sound judgmental. My true desire is to pray for the joyless and broken - to intercede for the Charlie Brown’s of the world, unknowingly adrift on a sea of holiday motions, who accomplish much goodness by way of action, yet remain numb to the broad significance of those actions. The unsung hero in Charlie Brown saw past the capped and crippled perspectives of his peers: Christmas isn’t about being filled but overflowing good tidings onto one another. Thus, the Charlie Brown Challenge is this: that we may be unified as a people who know why they give. May commercialism and customs not overcome us to the point our ‘love barometer’ stops working. May our donations, offerings and other givings accompany good tidings and stem more from the heart than the wallet. May we, with boldness and without hindrance (Acts 28:31) “proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns, because that is why [we were made]” (Luke 4:42-44 NIV). Such words are exquisitely unique, for this is both why and how we should celebrate Christmas.