Summary: When Linus answered Charlie Brown's question: Doesn't anyone know what Christmas is all about? He point his friend to Luke 2:8-14. But is Christmas all about that one portion of scripture?
For millions of people over the past fifty years the only exposure they have had to the bible happened each Christmas as Linus read Luke chapter 2 verses 8 to 14 from the King James version in response to Charlie Brown’s questions: Doesn’t anyone know what Christmas is all about.
And when Linus is done he turns to Charlie Brown and tells him, “and that’s what Christmas is all about.”
But is that it? Can Christmas really be summed up in 6 verses of the bible? And understand that isn’t the entire Christmas story it is really just giving us a glimpse of the entire story, but for Linus this is what Christmas is all about.
A Charlie Brown Christmas celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year, and millions of people around the world have watched as Charlie Brown struggles with his conflicting feelings over the Christmas Season. Finally, after watching how his peers react to the season Charlie brown asks his friend Linus in frustration, “Isn’t there anyone who know what Christmas is really all about?”
And that’s a good question, a question that he felt wasn’t being answered by those around him. Last Sunday when we began our series we took a little bit of time to see what it was that Charlie Brown saw in those around him.
For Snoopy Christmas was all about the season of Christmas, the lights the food, all the glamour and glitz that surrounds Christmas. For Lucy Christmas was all about what had to be done, all about the effort. From organizing the Christmas Play, to making sure they had the perfect tree to counselling Charlie Brown on how to achieve Christmas bliss, her solution. Get involved. For Sally, Charlie Brown’s little sister Christmas was all about Sally, what she wanted and expected Santa to bring her on the big day. And for Charlie Brown himself Christmas was about despair he was down and depressed and the holiday did nothing to improve his mood.
And then there was Linus, last week I mentioned that for Linus Christmas was all about the Christmas story. But I wondered if that was as far as it went with Linus. While Snoopy was quite happy for Christmas to be nothing more than a holiday it seemed that for Linus it was nothing more that then that fragment of the Christmas story.
But is that enough? Can we capture all of the Christmas story in those six verses? Well today we are looking at What Christmas is all about, according to Luke 2:8-14.
Let’s start where Linus started:
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
For Linus Christmas was About the Shepherds
And really shepherds are an iconic part of the Christmas story. They play a prominent role in Christmas cards and Christmas carols, when we have extra kids for the Christmas pageant we give them a towel and a bathroom and voila we have more shepherds.
Linus was even geared up to play a shepherd in the Christmas play that Charlie Brown was trying to direct.
But what do we know about these shepherds? Not much, and that’s what makes the story so great.
Because they made it into the Christmas story we make them special, but they really weren’t, they were just a bunch of guys who watched sheep for a living. They probably didn’t need an advanced degree in agricultural science to qualify for the job.
I know, it seems as if God has a special place for shepherds in the bible.
Abel who was commended for his offering was a shepherd. Abraham who would be the father of Israel had flocks of sheep, Moses who led the people of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt was a shepherd and David, Israel’s greatest king and the writer of the psalms, was a shepherd.
When King David was looking for just the right description of the compassion of God he wrote in the 23rd Psalm “The Lord is my shepherd” and Jesus referred to himself as the good Shepherd.
To my point exactly, Israel was an agricultural society and sheep made up a big portion of that industry. There were all kinds of shepherds and it was a natural illustration and analogy because everywhere you looked someone was tending sheep.
And that is what makes this part of the story great, the fact that they weren’t special.
I mean if I was God, creator of all things, master of the universe and I was announcing the birth of my Son I'm not sure that shepherds would have made the short list. Or for that matter the long list. Kings, emperors, potentates they would have been the ones on my list, not the keepers of sheep.