Examining Gifts: What is Christmas Really About?
- Wednesday, December 24, 2008
"This is good, really good!" CBS drooled.
Then Linus stepped into the spotlight and answered Charlie's question:
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all men.'"
"Hold everything!" demanded CBS. "You can't recite Bible verses on national television...and especially the King James Version! You'll alienate our viewers and chase away our advertisers. The tree can stay but the Bible has to go."
Schultz stood firm. "If I can't tell the Christmas story, you can't have the Peanuts cast. If the Christmas reading goes, so do they!"
CBS looked at the fast approaching deadline... and gulped. "Ok, it stays. But we're going to pay a terrible price for this."
And, sure enough, on the night of the Christmas Special, the CBS switchboard was flooded with calls from around the country, all asking the same question, "When can we have more Peanuts Christmas Specials?"
"Soon," CBS promised, "very, very soon." And a TV tradition was born. 50 percent of America tuned into the show that night. It won an Emmy and a Peabody award. TV Guide claimed Linus' biblical recitation was one of the top 35 moments in television history. And it became the longest running Christmas special on CBS.
The Christmas story can never be told too much. His coming was never meant to be secretive. After all, God "emptied Himself" and "became a man." He stepped out of eternity and into time, and "we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father."
Now it's our turn to step into the spotlight and tell the old, old story that's ever new.
Vice President of Church Relations
P.S. If you're looking for great preaching tools, don't forget Preaching Magazine. It's my favorite. Check it out at Preaching.com. Do your congregation a favor by subscribing.
Copyright 2007 by Ron Walters
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