It’s that time of year again—Christmas decorations are out in full force whether you want to see them or not, people have begun their Christmas shopping, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special is airing soon! The Charlie Brown Christmas special is a tradition that many families in America partake in, and what makes the cartoon so significant is the fact that there is an unedited gospel message from Luke presented for every viewer.
In a time where our country seems to sensor religious messages left and right, it is remarkable that this film continues to air on national television. Jesse Carey, editor for RELEVANT Magazine, has written an article titled How ‘Peanuts’ Took Faith to Culture.
As Carey points out, the Charlie Brown Christmas Special was not always beloved. He explains,
“Even when the Christmas special first aired in the mid-'60s, the decision to include the Bible passage was controversial. But Schulz’s adamance and non-compromising creative vision paid off. That year, nearly half of the country tuned in to watch.
Considering the special has been aired consistently for five decades, it’s arguably one of the most broadcasted pieces of Scripture in history.”
Schulz stood up for his beliefs and did not comprise the message in his film or comic. What a different movie it would be without the truth of Christ. But now there is a new Charlie Brown movie out called “The Peanuts Movie.” This new movie utilizes digital animation to bring the characters to life, but does it have the same effect? Crosswalk Contributor Christa Banister reviewed the movie and shares,
“Yes, there’s nothing worse than when childhood favorites become a little too modern for their own good. And considering just how much of a vintage delight the Peanuts franchise is, I half-expected Linus to be lugging around an iPad instead of his beloved blue blanket. But aside from a welcome upgrade in animation (the 3D format actually works well here) and pop star Meghan Trainor gracing the soundtrack, everything about The Peanuts Movie is refreshingly lo-fi.”
“Written by the son and grandson of Schulz, The Peanuts Movie is essentially two stories seamlessly integrated into one movie—one that’s set in the “real world” with Charlie Brown and his friends, and a fantastical alternate reality where Snoopy is once again facing off against his alter-ego, the Flying Ace, with Woodstock not far behind, naturally.
Like the best films, the viewer is never beat over the head with the underlying themes and messages, but you can always count on the Peanuts characters having something valuable to say about kindness and friendship all the same. And that’s something that hopefully will never go out of style, fingers crossed, anyway.”
As Banister states, “Calling someone a ‘blockhead’ is about as crazy as things get here.” It’s rare and refreshing to have a film like this to take your family to. Schultz’s boldness for the gospel will continue to live on through his animated creation.
Crosswalk Contributor Alan Sears expresses,
“Charles Schulz left this earth [fourteen] years ago, but his legacy of faith lives on through the words of an animated character who, with just a few words, proudly proclaimed what has been called “the reason for the season.” They are a lasting testimony to Schulz’s faith and willingness to take a bold stand for the Gospel.”
Carey states this about Schulz:
“Schulz once explained, “'You can't create humor out of happiness.' I'm astonished at the number of people who write to me saying, 'Why can't you create happy stories for us? Why does Charlie Brown always have to lose? Why can't you let him kick the football?' Well, there is nothing funny about the person who gets to kick the football.’'
It was an idea that was closely tied to faith: "Once you accept Jesus, it doesn’t mean that all your problems are automatically solved," he was quoted as saying.
God’s grace never changes. It doesn’t matter if we ever do kick the football, or if we fall down every time we try. He's always going to be there.”
The Charlie Brown Christmas special is up there with It’s a Wonderful Life; there’s something special about those Christmas movies that stirs our soul and warms our heart. They remind us that there is something more. Jesus is so much more—he is infinitely better than any gift we can give or receive this Christmas.
This Christmas season, remember the boldness of Charlie Brown and Charles Schultz, and share the true meaning of Christmas with loved ones and everyone you meet. This is the kind of Christmas movie I love, rather than Hallmark romance it’s all about Jesus! “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”
Will you tune in to the Charlie Brown Christmas special this year?
The Charlie Brown Christmas special airs November 30th and December 24th on ABC at 9p.m. EST.
To read Carey’s full article please visit relevantmagazine.com.
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: November 9, 2015