Drop the Blanket

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[based on an article "Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Jason Soroski]

How was 2017 for you? Was it a good year or a challenging year? Did some hopes not pan out? . . . needed healing? . . . occupational advancements? . . . personal reconciliations? Did disappointment knock at your door? That happens more often then we want to admit.

The problem with the Christmas story is not that it is filled with bad people, but that good people were just too preoccupied to discover the real meaning. The inn keeper was preoccupied with business. The religious leaders were preoccupied by being religious. The towns people were too preoccupied to notice a new star. But, not everyone missed it. The shepherds and the wise men all received more.

During the first days of December, the Emmy and the Peabody Award-winning
animated film, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired on national primetime television for the 52nd time. It aired the first time way back in 1965. I hate to admit it, but I was alive back then. It seems like a long time ago but I pretty much remember watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” just about every year since. In a world where the latest
greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and popular trends come and go in a matter of days, 52 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.

I’ve always been a huge fan Charlie Brown and especially this Christmas special. I love that the real story of Christmas is within the film and I love that Luke 2:8–14 is actually quoted. We just don’t hear scripture very often on national television any more. Combine all that with a cartoon format and I am hooked!

Through the years, countless schools, theaters and pageants have performed a version of the Charlie Brown Christmas story and I’ve seen most of them. But this year, something different jumped out at me. I never noticed it before, but now I can’t stop thinking about it. Right in the middle of speaking, Linus drops his blanket. . . .

Charlie Brown is best known for his yellow striped shirt and Lucy is well recognized in a blue dress, but Linus is most associated with his ever-present, increasingly tattered, security blanket. Throughout the story, Peanuts, Snoopy, Sally and especially Lucy all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket. And even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the lad, Linus simply refuses to give it up. Until this moment when he simply drops it.

In that moment, in front of the entire world, just as Linus shares what “Christmas is all about,”he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Just as he utters the words “fear not,” he lets go of the one thing he’s constantly been grasping.

Looking at it now—knowing that Charles Schulz was an open follower of Jesus—it’s all pretty clear as to what Mr. Schulz was doing. And it’s so simple; it’s brilliant.
Embracing the birth of Jesus can separate us from our fears. The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves. The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop our false security we have been grasping, and learn to trust and cling to him instead.

The world of 2018 can be a scary place and most of us find ourselves grasping at something temporal for security. Yet, in a simple cartoon and within just a few lines, Linus teaches us to “fear not” and let go of the blanket. In the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon from 1965 continues to inspire us that true security is only found in one place . . . in one person. Jesus.

[Ron Otto, preaching minister, Lincoln Christian Church]


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