When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the TV specials that would be on the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some of them you might remember. "The Year without a Santa Claus," "Frosty the Snowman," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and last but not least "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (It’ll be on TV this week, Dec. 6). Everyone is familiar with the pathetic, little tree Charlie Brown picks out at the end of the program.
But there is something in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that you may not know or did not notice. Do you remember at one point in the show Charlie Brown cries out for someone to please tell him the meaning of Christmas? It is then that Linus comes forward, and he recites from memory part of the Christmas story found in Luke 2. For those of you not familiar with Charlie Brown mythos ... Linus was never without his blanket. It is his security and safety. And yet, during the telling of the Christmas story, Linus actually drops his blanket (look and see when you watch).
Linus drops his blanket when the angels said “Fear not! I bring you good tidings of great joy!” I don’t believe that this was an accident. Charles Schultz is trying to get across something amazing.
The birth of Jesus sets us free from our fears. Linus doesn’t need the security of his blanket anymore. He found something better. Something greater. Someone stronger.
Fear enslaves every person in this world — fear of loss, including loss of prestige, loss of position, loss of property, loss of power, loss of prosperity, loss of approval, loss of health. Fear of losing people we love. Ultimately — fear of our own death. Does the birth of this baby 2,000 years ago really free us from our fears?
The answer is, it does. How? Notice, “fear not I bring you good news of great joy.” There is news that puts our fears away. To bring an end to our slavery to fear we have to know the news.
What is the news? “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ, the Lord.”
We have fear of losing things because we think that we need them in order to be happy, in order to feel worthwhile, in order to be seen as something in this world, that we really are good. So we fear losing our prosperity, or our health or our position or our power. These things in a sense are our saviors. They rescue us from the pain of feeling worthless or powerless or unacceptable. So we fear losing them. What will I do or be if I no longer have these things?
But there is only one true Savior. In Jesus, we have everything. In Jesus, there is forgiveness of our sins and failings. In Jesus, we are clothed righteousness. In Jesus, we are cherished and delighted in. In Jesus, we are loved and accepted by the One who matters most, our Father in Heaven. In Jesus, there is power to break enslaving sins and habits.
God speaks the same word today that He spoke to the rag-tag shepherds 2,000 years ago, “Fear not. I have good news of great joy. There is a Savior!” Join with Linus this Christmas season and drop the false security of the things of this world and instead cling to Jesus.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.