I was 4 years old when “A Charlie Brown Christmas” first aired in 1965 and, like many of my generation, it has been a staple of the holidays ever since.
As many times as I’ve watched the Peanuts gang prepare for Christmas, I never noticed a silent but powerful message Charles Schulz wove into one of that beloved cartoon’s most memorable scenes.
As Charlie Brown pleads for someone to tell him what Christmas is all about, Linus takes center stage and begins reciting Luke 2. When he reaches, “And the angel said unto them fear not …,” Linus drops his beloved blanket.
One commentator said, “The imagery, of course, represents the hope of the Christian – that we do not have anything to fear, for God is with us. Of course, in our human state, we always end up finding things to worry, be anxious, and even fearful of – so we always go back to whatever our own earthly security blanket is.”
Rings true today, too, doesn’t it? It’s not too late to change that tune so, with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, my rendition …
In the days before Christmas, across this great land
We find ourselves burdened and wringing our hands
The hope once embraced during this Season of Light
Finds itself choked by darkness … and chaos… and fright
We no longer kneel at a manger to pray
But rely on clay idols to show us the way
Streets gaily lit where shoppers once roamed
Have become a last refuge the homeless call home
Fear overwhelms us when experts shout “Boo!”
“Beware Covid and Delta … and Omicron, too!”
Kids cower in school, and they weep and pray
That they and their friends won’t be casualties today.
Hard work and honesty no longer suffice
But that leisure and lethargy come at a price.
Hate is strong, and fear stronger still
Those whom we loved once, we’ve decided to kill.
Vices are many and virtues are few;
Seems we’re damned if we don’t and damned if we do.
The leaders we’ve chosen, we shamefully confess
Are those who know little, and those who know less.
Have we now finally reached the end of our rope?
Surrendered our souls along with our hope?
Or will we … in our time … like those shepherds who sought,
Put our trust in a savior who whispers, “Fear not”?