As the days grow shorter, until the special night when Christians around the world celebrate the arrival in our fallen world of the Son of God, I have noticed, once again, a concerted effort by the “Smartest People in the Room” to attempt to turn Christmas in America into a Secular Holiday, as if convincing themselves that the Triune God had nothing at all to do with our Sovereign Nation’s Founding.
For example. the 44th President of these United States, Barack Hussein Obama, (mm mmm mmmm) and Michelle Obama recently spoke about the 50th Anniversary of the Cartoon Classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and, per ChristianPost.com, he purposefully missed the point of the cartoon, entirely.
Barack Obama failed to mention Jesus in his description of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and its message about the true meaning of Christmas during ABC’s “It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown.” Good grief.
The president and first lady spoke briefly during the Monday night Christmas special in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of 1965’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
In describing the show and that famous scene, in which Linus Van Pelt explains the true meaning of Christmas by reciting Luke 2:8-14, Barack Obama said it teaches “us that tiny trees just need a little love and that on this holiday we celebrate peace on Earth and good will toward all.”
The Luke passage and Linus speech does mention “peace on Earth and good will toward men,” but that passage is not the answer to the question of the true meaning of Christmas.
Here is a transcript of that part of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (or watch the video below):
Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about.
Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
“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 unto 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, good will toward men.'”
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
The true meaning of Christmas is not what the angels were singing at the end. That was just the epilogue to the story of the shepards encounter with the angels.
The true meaning of Christmas is that “unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Jesus Christ is not just a character in the Christmas story, He is the Christmas story. The meaning of His birth, a savior who came to cover our sins in His blood so that we can find our own true meaning in a right relationship with God, is, as Linus reminded us, what Christmas is all about.
Obama neglecting to mention Jesus was in keeping with the rest of the show.
ABC’s remembrance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was hosted by Kristen Bell and had musical performances by Vince Guaraldi, Kristen Chenowith, Matthew Morrison, Sarah McLachlan, Pentatonix, David Benoit and The All-American Boys Chorus.
While the birth of Jesus was not a theme throughout most of the Christmas special, there was a clip of Charlie Brown creator Charles Schultz describing how the Linus speech came about in a 1997 Charlie Rose interview.
Schultz had decided, “we cannot do this show without including the famous passage from Saint Luke. And that had never been done before either. No one would put biblical passages in an animated show, and we did it. … That was the highlight of the show,” he said.
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States of America. He said the following about our Country’s relationship to Christianity:
My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away [evade or object to]. . . . the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances [permits] His disciples in asserting that He was God.6
The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10].7
In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
There were 95 Senators and Representatives in the First Federal Congress. If one combines the total number of signatures on the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution with the non-signing Constitutional Convention delegates, and then adds to that sum the number of congressmen in the First Federal Congress, one obtains a total of 238 “slots” or “positions” in these groups which one can classify as “Founding Fathers” of the United States. Because 40 individuals had multiple roles (they signed multiple documents and/or also served in the First Federal Congress), there are 204 unique individuals in this group of “Founding Fathers.” These are the people who did one or more of the following:
– signed the Declaration of Independence
– signed the Articles of Confederation
– attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787
– signed the Constitution of the United States of America
– served as Senators in the First Federal Congress (1789-1791)
– served as U.S. Representatives in the First Federal Congress
The religious affiliations of these individuals are summarized below. Obviously this is a very restrictive set of names, and does not include everyone who could be considered an “American Founding Father.” But most of the major figures that people generally think of in this context are included using these criteria, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and more.
of U.S. Founding Fathers
Episcopalian/Anglican 88 54.7% Presbyterian 30 18.6% Congregationalist 27 16.8% Quaker 7 4.3% Dutch Reformed/German Reformed 6 3.7% Lutheran 5 3.1% Catholic 3 1.9% Huguenot 3 1.9% Unitarian 3 1.9% Methodist 2 1.2% Calvinist 1 0.6% unknown 43 % TOTAL 204
Christmas and Christianity have been a part of of our national fabric since our Sovereign Nation was born. Here is what a couple of our more Modern Presidents said about Christmas in America:
Since returning home, I have been reading again in our family Bible some of the passages which foretold this night. . . . We miss the spirit of Christmas if we consider the Incarnation as an indistinct and doubtful, far-off event unrelated to our present problems. We miss the purport of Christ’s birth if we do not accept it as a living link which joins us together in spirit as children of the ever-living and true God. In love alone – the love of God and the love of man – will be found the solution of all the ills which afflict the world today. – President Harry S. Truman, Christmas Eve Address to the Nation, 1949
“Christmas is also a time to remember the treasures of our own history. We remember one Christmas in particular, 1776, our first year as a nation. The Revolutionary War had been going badly. But George Washington’s faith, courage, and leadership would turn the tide of history our way. On Christmas night he led a band of ragged soldiers across the Delaware River through driving snow to a victory that saved the cause of independence. It’s said that their route of march was stained by bloody footprints, but their spirit never faltered and their will could not be crushed. The image of George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow is one of the most famous in American history. He personified a people who knew it was not enough to depend on their own courage and goodness; they must also seek help from God, their Father and Preserver.” (1983)
“For the past few years in this great house, I’ve thought of our first real Christmas as a nation. It was the dark and freezing Christmas of 1776, when General Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware. They and Providence gave our nation its first Christmas gift—a victory that brought us closer to liberty, the condition in which God meant man to flourish.” (1984) President Ronald Wilson Reagan
So, why do we celebrate this time of year? Is it the hustle and bustle? Is is the greed and avarice of the commercialization of a Secular Holiday?
It is to honor and celebrate
ONE SOLITARY LIFE
He was born in an obscure village, the son of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he became a wandering preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of those things one usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through a mockery of a trial. He was executed by the state. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that One Solitary Life.
***The preceding essay was part of a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).
Until He Comes,