Celebrating a Charlie Brown Christmas Without Shame

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 29, 2006 9:45 AM

I caught a little bit of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" last night.

Sister Toldjah gives thanks for the half-hour reminder of the real meaning of Christmas, and the fact that no one has yet succeeded in banning it:

Thankfully, the PC crowd can’t touch programs like the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon - they might be able to prevent them from being watched on government property or at government-sanctioned events, but they can’t stop them from being sold in the stores, and from being watched on television. And most importantly, at this time of year when political correctness is so out of control, I take comfort in the fact that they can’t take Christmas out of our hearts and minds, nor will they ever be able to change the meaning of Christmas, no matter how hard they try.

I wrote on Charlie Brown last year, around this time in "And Lo, the Network Execs Were Sore Afraid:"

Thank goodness Shulz made it in 1965. That baby would be a Veggie Tales straight-to-video these days. With all due respect to Bob the Tomato, I prefer the Gospel of Luke coming from Linus. But it turns out that what scared execs about Charlie's low-key, surprisingly soulful Christmas is exactly what made it beloved:

Parents like Molly Kremidas, 39, who grew up adoring A Charlie Brown Christmas, watch it with their kids. "It's the values in the story," says Kremidas, of Winston-Salem, N.C. She'll watch tonight with daughter Sofia, 6. "Would there be any programs for children on today that could get away with talking about the real meaning of Christmas? I don't think so."
Parents say the combination of humor and bedrock values is what draws them and their children to the show. "It does provide a balance, but it's a balance that we as a society have forgotten about," says Patrick Lemp, 43, of West Hartford, Conn. He'll watch tonight with son Brendan, 13.

"This is one of the last shows that actually comes out and talks about the meaning of Christmas. As a society, we're taking religion out of a lot of the trappings of the holiday. This one is different."

The 'War on Christmas' has been a big buzz phrase this year, and I'm not going to harp on it a lot. But it makes us look rather silly to walk around Christmas shopping, taking Christmas vacations, wrapping Christmas presents for under the Christmas tree and pretending that this winter "holiday" is about nothing when everyone knows what it's about.

Yes, not everyone celebrates Christmas and it doesn't mean the exact same thing to everyone who celebrates it. We should be mindful of that with our friends and family-- that's just plain good manners. But removing the word "Christ" from the holiday is kind of like spelling out cuss words in front of your teenager. You're not fooling anyone and there ain't a whole lot of harm in just saying it.

Linus wasn't offending anyone. He was just being honest when he read, "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, and goodwill toward men. And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." (Luke 2: 13-14)

Shulz created a special for a holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus and in that special, he told the story of the birth of Jesus. Makes sense to me.

But these days, it takes the Peanuts kids to act like adults about it. Perhaps Linus has a security blanket he could lend the rest of us.

Judging from the tremendous success of Charlie Brown's honest Christmas story, network execs would be wise to heed another verse from Luke:

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Be not afraid.


Update: Linus sends a different message by getting down with the Dirty South in this Charlie Brown version of Outkast's "Hey Ya." Pretty funny.

Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth, umm, shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Check out that kid to the right of Snoopy, with the yellow shirt on. My little brother, who's really not very little at all, does that dance sometimes, and it's hilarious. Unfortunately, not on demand, or I'd make him do it for HamNation.