The Pastor's Windshield for Sun, Dec 4, 2022

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is one of the classic TV shows that we watch at our house each Christmas season. Charlie Brown wasn’t having the best Christmas. With all the hubbub and commercialism, he wondered, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” 

What is it all about? The festivities? The parties, concerts, decorations, shopping, baking, ugly sweaters, etc.? Such things may make the season more enjoyable, but there can also be too much activity, too much on the credit card, and too little time to stop and reflect.

What about family? That’s one of the most typical answers: “Christmastime is about family and togetherness.” That’s true, to some extent. It can be a great blessing to gather with loved ones, but for some families, that’s not the case. Either family members aren’t getting along, or it’s simply not possible for everyone to get together. 

Christmas means more than celebrating in a certain place with certain people. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in who we’re celebrating with rather than the One we’re celebrating …

What about neighborliness? “Christmas is about giving” we hear each year. Christmas is a great time for generosity, friendliness, and hospitality, but we’re called to love our neighbors the other 11 months of the year as well. It’s not that we shouldn’t do these caring things for others at Christmas. It’s just that we don’t need to think that this is the whole point of Christmas! 

Christmas really isn’t about what we do!  It’s actually bigger and better than our traditions and celebrations and gift giving.

Leave it to Linus to tell Charlie Brown – and tell us – what Christmas is all about. Linus simply shares the Christmas Gospel,from Luke chapter 2. The angels’ Christmas message is short and sweet, and easy to miss amid our stress and activities but it’s the heart of Christmas:

“‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and 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 2:10-14)

The angels have the answer: Christmas is all about Jesus! It isn’t about us or what we do. It’s about a Person, a baby, the Son of Mary, yet also the Almighty Lord – the Son of God!                 

Christmas is about Jesus coming to save you from your sins. That may not seem like much of a Christmas-y message. But Matthew tells us that the Christmas Child will be named “Jesus” because He will save His people from their sins. Unto you is born a Savior, because the world isn’t right, and because you and I aren’t right. We’re not living as God made us to live. Worse yet, we can’t! You and I need a Savior! Without a Savior, we’re stuck in our sin, sin that cuts us off from God and eternity. The Good News is that Christmas is all about Jesus coming for the cross, where He took away our sins!

Christmas is also about Jesus relieving your fears. “Fear not!” doesn’t sound like a very Christmas-y message, but it’s one of the most oft-repeated phrases in Scripture because fear is one of our greatest struggles, both in Bible times and for us today. Fear surroundsthe first Christmas: Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds are all afraid when mighty angels suddenly show up.

But in the midst of all this fear, God comes!  And He comes in such a way at Bethlehem that we would not be terrified but comforted by Him. He comes gently and humbly. Jesus comes to us fearful people as one of us – a baby in Bethlehem – and yet as more than one of us – as our Savior from sin and its consequences, including our fears and anxieties.

Whether you have a “Charlie Brown Christmas” or the time of your life, the words of the carol, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”, speak to us this Advent and Christmas:

And you, beneath your heavy load,  By care and guilt bent low,
Who toil along a dreary way,  With painful steps and slow:
Look up, for golden is the hour,  Come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring you peace;  Of Him, the angels sing.

Let’s look up this Christmas season to our Prince of Peace, Jesus, and let’s share what Christmas is all about: Unto you is born a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.”  

Peace in Christ,

                  Pastor Kory Janneke