Christmas is probably my favorite time of year. The excitement, the anticipation, the build-up to the big day had me bouncing off the walls when I was a kid. I loved listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies or TV specials. I still do.
One of my favorite traditions is watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Charlie Brown expresses his frustration with Christmas by asking, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus’s calm response always gives me chills. As I think about that scene, it reminds me of the job we have as parents to help our children understand what Christmas is all about.
Like many of Charlie Brown’s friends, we sometimes let everything else get in the way of the true meaning of Christmas. We are so busy, running from here to there, doing this and that. So many other things come with the season (sometimes even good things), that it is easy for it to appear that we have lost our focus. If that happens to us as parents, it stands to reason that our kids could have a hard time focusing on the main event.
A couple of lessons from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” can help us parents as we aim to keep the focus on Christ at Christmas. This holiday, think of the following two-step process.
Step 1: Turn down the distractions. In the key moment, Linus answers Charlie Brown’s question in a provocative way. He steps to the stage and asks for the lights to be turned down. The bickering Peanuts gang is left in the dark. In our lives, especially during the busy time of Christmas, sometimes we need to dim the lights on everything going on around us. Christmas is always a busy time – holiday parties, gifts to purchase, family gatherings. Those things are special, and they have an important place. But remember why we celebrate. This year, minimize the distractions and anything that takes focus away from Jesus.
Step 2: Put Truth in the spotlight. When Linus hits the stage and the lights dim, a single spotlight shines down as he begins to tell the Christmas story straight from Luke chapter 2. The only focus in that moment is the truth of the Gospel. Jesus – who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) – is in the spotlight. Something remarkable happens when we allow Jesus, the Truth, to take center stage. He sets us free (John 8:32). At the moment Linus quotes Luke 2:10 (“Fear not”), he drops his trusted blanket that he carries with him everywhere. When our focus is on Jesus, He has the power to set us free – of fear, worry, anxiety, depression – anything that weighs us down.
The lyrics of “Magnify,” a popular song by the band We Are Messengers, say, “Take it all, take it all away. Magnify no other name. Open up, open up my eyes to you.” This Christmas season, my prayer is that our eyes will be open and that everything will fade away so Jesus will be the brightest part of our celebration.