Summary: Isaiah gives us four names that Jesus would be called, and each name gives us a description of what Jesus would do.
During the 1960’s, a phenomenon called “Peanuts” was born. The comic strip began appearing in newspapers all over America. The simple characters and modest storylines became the perfect placebo for millions looking for a daily dose of innocence.
And none of that was lost on Madison Avenue.
CBS first approached Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, with the idea of an animated television Christmas Special featuring Charlie, Lucy, Linus, and the whole gang. Schulz agreed, the work began, and CBS was quick to review the script.
Shultz titled the special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
The opening scene placed Charlie Brown on his tiptoes peeking into his snow-covered mailbox hoping to find a Christmas card, but to no avail . . . again.
Feeling dejected, he stopped by Lucy’s psychiatric booth to mourn the commercialism of Christmas.
Lucy agreed, adding her own lament, “Christmas is nothing but a lot of stupid toys. What I really want is real estate!”
CBS loved it.
In the next scene Charlie became further disillusioned as Snoopy was decorating his doghouse with strings of lights and gaudy decorations in hopes of winning a neighborhood contest.
“Good grief!” said Charlie Brown.
“That’s great!” said CBS.
Even Sally, Charlie’s sister, was caught in the Christmas trappings. She recruited him to take a dictation for a letter to Santa. “Dear Santa. Just send money, preferably tens and twenties.”
More laughter from CBS.
As the story progressed, Lucy sent Charlie to pick out a Christmas tree for their neighborhood pageant, with instructions to find “a big, shiny aluminum tree . . . maybe painted pink.”
But Charlie couldn’t do it. Instead, he brought back a real, albeit small, pathetic, lifeless tree . . . and the kids hated it.
“You blockhead, Charlie Brown!” they shouted.
“That’s good, really good!” CBS drooled.
Frustrated, Charlie said, “What is Christmas about, anyway?”
Then Linus stepped into the spotlight and answered Charlie Brown’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 Savior, 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 among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:8-14)
“Hold everything!” demanded CBS. “You can’t recite Bible verses on national television . . . and especially not the King James Version! You’ll alienate our viewers and chase away our advertisers. The tree can stay, but the Bible has to go.”
Schulz stood firm. “If I can’t tell the Christmas story, you can’t have the Peanuts cast. If the Bible reading goes, so do they!”
CBS looked at the fast-approaching deadline . . . and gulped. “Okay, it stays. But we’re going to pay a terrible price for this.”
And, sure enough, on the night of the Charlie Brown Christmas special, the CBS switchboard was flooded with calls from around the country. Everyone asked the same question, “When can we have more Charlie Brown Christmas specials?”
“Soon,” CBS promised. “Very soon!”
That night a TV tradition was born. 50% of America tuned in to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
It won an Emmy award and a Peabody award.
TV Guide claimed that Linus’ Bible reading was one of the top 35 moments in television history. And “A Charlie Brown Christmas” became the longest running Christmas special on CBS.
You see, the story of Jesus’ birth was never meant to be a secret. Indeed, as the angel said, the birth of Jesus is “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).
Jesus’ birth was actually foretold hundreds of years before he was born. The Prophet Isaiah told us about Jesus’ birth 700 years before he was born. And in one of the best-known Old Testament prophecies, Isaiah told us what Jesus would be called. He said in Isaiah 9:6b:
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6b)
Isaiah gave us four names that Jesus would be called. Each name gives us a description of what Jesus would do.
I. Because Jesus Shall Be Called Wonderful Counselor, There Will Be No Confusion
First, Isaiah said, “And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor.” Because Jesus shall be called Wonderful Counselor, there will be no confusion.