I love A Charlie Brown Christmas.
From Lucy’s temperamental quips to the moment when Linus drops his security blanket and says, “Fear not!” to everything in between, I love the truth and simplicity of the 25 minute-long film.
It was on TV last night actually! But guess how long the runtime was...
Every few minutes, the story was interrupted by commercials persuading viewers not to be content with what we have.
In the midst of these messages, after quoting the biblical story of Jesus’ birth and dropping his blanket, Linus says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
It was such an ironic moment, but one that seemed to capture our culture so well. This battle between finding ultimate contentment in Jesus and seeking contentment through so many other things that offer empty promises of quick gratification is a struggle as old as creation itself.
The contrast is clear in Romans 8:12-17.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as children, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Scripture calls out the struggle for what it is: flesh versus Spirit.
Our flesh is a lying, brutal master who whips us into fearful submission until we eventually die, all the while promising us freedom and life.
Our God is a truthful, loving Father who adopts us as His own children so that we might live fearlessly, all the while granting us freedom and life.
As children of God who walk by the Spirit of God, we are able to take one step further than Linus. Rather than merely dropping the blanket, by the power of the Spirit, we burn it. We put to death the idols in which we seek comfort and satisfaction, and fearlessly say of our Father, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Father, forgive us for the ways in which we cling to our sin - our love of stuff, our harboring of anger, our fears, our desire for instant gratification, our jealousy of others, our wandering eyes and hearts, our need for control. You are our good Father! You've offered your very Son to give us freedom from our flesh as a brutal master...forgive us when we reach back out to these idols and sins that you've freed us from! Help us by the power of Your Spirit to put them to death! We long for You. We long to be fully satisfied by You this Christmas season and always. Thank you for adopting us as Your children. In Jesus' Name, Amen