Saturday, December 23, 2006

Good Grief, Part Three

Christmas comes with tidings of great joy, and also with a touch of melancholy.

The melancholy, in moderation, makes sense. After all, with the birth of Christ comes the slaughter of the innocents. Right on the heels of the multitude of angels singing is Rachel weeping for her children.

And the gift of myrrh reminds us that the birth was just a step in a plan that would lead to the Via Delarosa, the road of sorrows.

The joy of Christmas comes with a sacrifice. My pastor refers to this as “the cost of Christmas.”

This is another reason that I love A Charlie Brown Christmas – Charles Schultz fully understood the notion of sacrifice for joy. Charlie’s holiday malaise is eventually overcome, but only through sacrificial giving.

Let me explain.

The next time you watch the special, pay close attention to Linus and his blanket.

The importance of the security blanket (a phrase coined by Charles Schultz, by the way) is established in several scenes, as well as Lucy’s insistence that her brother give the blanket up. But under threats of humiliation and even corporal punishment, Linus makes it clear that he will never let his blanket go.

Until Linus recounts the meaning of Christmas. If you watch carefully, you will notice that the young boy starts his recitation from the Gospel according to Luke with his blanket firmly grasped. Then he gets to the “sore afraid” part.

“Fear not!” Linus quotes the angels, and as he says those words, he lets go of the blanket.

After the oration, he retrieves his most valued possession.

Later, once Charlie has killed the tree, the real sacrifice takes place. Linus points out that he never thought is was such a bad tree, and that it only needed love.

Sacrificial love, as it turns out.

So Linus uses the greatest treasure on earth to care for the tree, wrapping it around the base.

And therein is a Christmas message worth holding onto. We’re not so bad, really, we just need a little love.

Sacrificial love.

Just my thoughts,

Sean

2 comments:

Beth (Gaston) said...

God has given you a great gift of putting your thoughts on paper, Sean! And you are giving to Him and others by using it. Thank you! The true meaning of Christmas: Sacrifice. Thank you for reminding me of that. We are distracted from this by all the sparkling decorations, presents we don't need, etc. We can sense the Joy in Christmas by thinking of God's sacrifice for us. Wishing you and Catherine a New Year full of G-d's blessings on you and the work that you are going. I truly enjoy reading your thoughts!

Gaffney said...

Beth,

Thank you for those kinds words.

Blessings on you and yours as well (we think of y'all often, as we have one of Glen's pictures hanging in our house!)