Knowing the Price of Everything but the Value of Nothing.
A Charlie Brown Christmas came out in 1965. Being as young as I was then, I enjoyed the cartoon not for the values it expressed, but because it was funny and had wonderful art and music. But even then, the basic lesson being taught was not totally lost on me.
What is the true meaning of Christmas? It seems to me, that as I was gaining understanding of the answer to the question, our culture was losing it. The true meaning of Christmas relates to the birth of the Savior of mankind; that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Charlie Brown was very ambivalent about Christmas: He did not understand it. Linus understood it better than any of the other children. They knew it as a day for giving – to get. Even the dog, Snoopy, displayed more materialism than understanding by decorating his dog house, and walking away with 1st prize in the local contest. Like our culture today, commercialism was the dominant view of the day for the characters.
Commercialism is a part of a materialistic world view. Snoopy in this story was very materialistic. Being a dog, it is a miracle of cartooning he was able to buy everything he did! But he exemplified those who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. He knew the price of the things he purchased, but not the value of the intangible things; love, friendship, and other very important things that cannot be bought, but are freely given.
After all the materialism was out came the most significant words spoken. Frustrated, Charlie Brown screamed, “Doesn’t ANYONE know the meaning of Christmas???”
Linus said, “I do.” Then he took the stage and recited, “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 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’” (Luke 2:8-14) KJV.
The shepherds knew the value of the intangibles, and that made them richer than any materialist. They understood the meaning of Christmas.
O God, when the busyness and commercialism of Christmas get the best of us, it is good to hear the question asked: “Doesn’t anyone know the meaning of Christmas?” Then sometimes it is indeed a child who will remind us by quoting the words of Luke 2. Keep us mindful, Lord, that it is not what we do, but what You have already done. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave us a Savior, Your son, Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.