What Else Might Linus Say to Charlie Brown About Christmas?

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Distressed over the insincerity of many concerning Christmas, the cartoon character Charlie Brown asks in anguish, “Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?” Charlie’s friend, Linus, while on stage, beautifully and brilliantly answers his question. “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please.”

With security blanket in hand the miniature theologian takes center stage and exclaims, “And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks 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 this day is born in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe 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; good will toward men.’”

Finished quoting Luke 2:8-14, Linus turns to Charlie Brown and comments, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Indeed, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

Among theologians, this is referred to as The Incarnation. God became man, clothing Himself in the likeness of our flesh.

As Paul later wrote to the Romans, “God... sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh ... (Romans 8:3) and to the Galatians, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). Also to the Philippians he said, “although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6,7).

The Incarnation.

The prophet Isaiah foretold, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us… And His name will be called… Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

The Incarnation.

Is this comprehensible? The Apostle Paul labeled it something impossible to explain to our satisfaction intellectually. To Timothy he writes, "by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: he who was revealed in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). Here the word "godliness" refers to the incarnation which he defines as "revealed in the flesh.” The Incarnation is an intellectual mystery. Of course, a supernatural God can do supernatural things. It is not a question of “can He do this?” but “did He do this?”  

Sadly, for some, when a thing cannot be proven to their satisfaction, they refuse to believe it. Added to this, not a few intellectual types point to the mythology of gods taking on human form and therefore dismiss as mythology the idea that Jesus is God. After all, who in their right mind would claim another person is God?

Interestingly, Saul of Tarsus, later the Apostle Paul, struggled with this very thing. He said, "At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view.” (2 Corinthians 5:16 NLT). In other words, Saul, the genius who studied under Gamaliel, rejected anything that suggested Jesus was more than a man. Later he changed his mind!

He believed what the Apostle John espoused, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1, 14).

The Word, who was God, became flesh, who is Jesus.

The Incarnation!

Linus might say to all of us, "Merry Incarnation! That’s what Christmas is all about."

As the hymn of Hark the Herald Angels Sing expresses: "Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate Deity."

-Dr. E