Good grief! Charlie Brown’s Christmas has now been poked by politics as President and First Lady Obama gave their interpretation of the true meaning of Christmas. Just before the 50th Anniversary broadcast of the popular cartoon, the message from the first couple was aired to millions of viewers.
Mrs. Obama – “The (Charlie Brown gang) has taught us what the true meaning of Christmas is.”
President Obama – “They teach us that tiny trees just need a little love, and that on this holiday, we celebrate peace on earth, and good will toward all.”
Mrs. Obama — Because as Linus knows, that’s what Christmas is all about.
Okay, simmer down, Gertrude. Some of you are thinking, “What’s wrong with that?” Others are thinking, “Everything’s wrong with that.” I come down on the side of thinking the sentiment was sweet, but failed to mention the Holy birthday boy, but I’m not going to get my elf knickers in a knot over it, because my husband and I decided long ago it was our responsibility to teach our family the meaning of Christmas, not society.
TV and social media aren’t bad – oh, who am I kidding? They’re horrible, and that’s why we override and clarify murky messages that come into our home, even when it’s from the President. If you leave a child’s religious education to the world, you’ll get. . .the love of tiny trees.
Are you upset that Starbuck’s paper cups didn’t have a Christmas message? Here’s an idea, read the Bible. It’s packed full of Christmas cheer, and throws in Easter for free. Are you bummed-out that the cashier, who is only trying to do her job, isn’t allowed to wish you a Merry Christmas? Why don’t you wish her one instead? Or maybe you could shop at a store like Hobby Lobby, Piggly Wiggly or Chic-fil-A where they’ll Christmas you up one side and down the other, slap a bow on your head and slide you under the tree. I just love it when that happens. (no sarcasm there, I really do love it).
President and Mrs. Obama have told us they are Christians and since God’s the one that checks their membership cards, not me, I’ll believe them. Therefore, I assume they know the real Christmas story and were perhaps playing it down to be more “inclusive” and not offend anyone by saying Christmas is about celebrating the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ. Does that offend you? I’m so sorry (there’s the sarcasm).
But have you ever thought that as Christians, we’re just as guilty of contributing to the “softening” of the Christmas message? If we look around our own houses, are there more Santas, elves and reindeer than shepherds, angels and stars? Do we purchase Christmas music about Bethlehem or do we download “Christmas in the Trailer Park Again?” (Yes, it’s a real song. Look it up – no, wait, don’t).
I’m just as guilty because those dancing snowmen are really cute and my Beagle is adorable in her antlers, but maybe in the future I should be mindful of what I really focus on during the season.
For generations, my family has gathered and read aloud the 2nd chapter of Luke on Christmas morning. It sets our minds straight and helps us remember the symbolism of our gifts. Traditions like this are what Christians should focus on to teach our families the real meaning of the holiday instead of getting upset over society’s lack of accuracy. Perhaps then, the world will see us celebrating with such peace and joy that they too will crave a real, bona-fide baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph kind of Christmas.
But even if the kiddies only have the TV set for instruction, thanks to Charles Shultz, Linus will bail us out when he finally steps into the spotlight and sets everyone straight. Then, behold . . . he’ll still love the heck out of that tiny tree.
This story first appeared in The Baldwin Times.