Summary: The Good News about the Good News is that it is redemption for losers like Charlie Brown as well as you and I.
The Gospel According To… Charlie Brown
December 21, 2008
The Gospel According to… Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown cannot catch a break. He is the stereotypical American loser. Whenever he tries to kick the football that Lucy is holding, every time she pulls it away at the last second and he misses it, flying through the air to land flat on his back. His baseball team has never won a game although one time they did score one run.
He has premature balding and can never get anything right. For Halloween he tried to make himself the easiest costume ever—a ghost—but somehow cut a gazillion holes in it instead of the two holes that he needed for eyes. As a result, he receives rocks instead of candy.
For Christmas he is charged with getting a Christmas tree but gets something that is a little more than a twig. Ol’ Chuck felt sorry for the little thing because no else wanted it. He thought the tree was a little like himself. The result was that everyone was angry with him and accused him of sabotaging Christmas.
Charlie Brown is a loser. No one wants to be like Charlie Brown. No one idolizes Charlie Brown. No one looks up to Charlie Brown. We might feel sorry for Charlie Brown but deep down inside we are relieved that we are not that bad. He is a loser with a capital “L.”
It was youth group one night near Christmas as the kids were settling down for their snack. The youth pastor asked one of the consistent girls to bless the food. She had a reputation of having a good heart but often was sort of an airhead. She worked at McDonald’s and had in fact come straight to the youth group after work and was still wearing her uniform.
Everyone closed their eyes and bowed their heads. The youth pastor was watching to make sure everyone behave as this young lady looked for a signal from the youth pastor. She was sort of nervous and tired. He nodded to her and she closed her eyes and bowed her head and without thinking blurted out, “Welcome to McDonald’s can I take your order?”
Now how embarrassing would that be?
Let’s take a quick look from the cartoon at how everyone reacted to Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.
Again, Charlie Brown is a loser. But here is where the gospel especially the Christmas message shines through: the good news is that the good news is for losers. We heard how Jesus was born into a family of losers last week. We were introduced how his birth was announced by loser shepherds. When he began his ministry, he taught and healed the losers of his day. Jesus said that he had come not for the healthy and the well-off and those who were self-sufficient and plenty of blessings heaped on themselves but he had come for the sick, the weary, the broken, the broken-hearted, and the cast-offs.
The gospel is about a God that cares for losers enough to become one himself. Only instead of bringing God down low, Jesus elevates us. This is truly the greatest news. We are not intended to live as trampled, defeated people. We are not created to be a people that is stuck in the muck and mire of our addictions and our brokenness and inability to do the right thing. We are made by God’s hand and then remade to be a people to follow his ways. The ways that Jesus taught and modeled and called us to follow.
Charlie Brown felt like dirt. But Linus gets up and tells everyone the gospel. He reminds them and us what Christmas is really about. That it is not about decorations or parties or gifts or lights or food. Christmas is not about snow. Christmas is not about the having plenty. It is about nothing. It is about losers who have no hope but now have one with Emmanuel, God With Us. God who became a loser to show all of us losers that he loves us and has a better way for us live. We are to live in him and with him.
Let’s look at Linus’ speech.
And this brings the who gospel and the message down to one word for me. The gospel according to Charlie Brown is about one word. Remember that Prince Caspian was about reconciliation. Well, the gospel according to Charlie Brown is about redemption. It is about redeeming the losers. It is about buying back that which was lost or taken away. It is about giving value, ultimate and eternal value, to those that have lost their worth. It is about giving value to the worthless and the cast-offs and the broken and the used-up and the abused and those the have made bad decisions and those that are losers with a capital “L.” Redemption is as much about giving us value who have transgressed those that we love as well as God. And therefore the redemption of Christmas becomes our story of forgiveness: how we are forgiven, how we seek forgiveness, how we forgive others and we forgive ourselves.