Ever watched the scene in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Linus tells about the angels appearing to the shepherds? Blogger Jason Soroski points out that Linus, who has spent the entire film being ridiculed for his security blanket, drops the blanket at the exact moment (00:38 in the above clip) when he recounts the ‘Fear not’ of the angels. It’s a beautiful picture of what happens when we get caught up in the story of God’s rescue of the world in Jesus. Not that our fears disappear, but they lose their grip on us.
But as Linus finishes telling the story, he picks the blanket up again. For me, THIS is the most powerful moment in the movie. As much as I’d like to be done with my fears, they are constant companions, dogging me as I walk the path Jesus has laid before me. I have glimpses of the future, when I am so caught up in the beauty of the story of Jesus, that my fears lose their grip and I forget they’re there. Often, like Linus, those moments tend to come when I’m retelling what Jesus has done. But then I forget, and grab for the blanket again. I’m thankful that Christmas is about God come to be with us amid the fear that we can’t seem to let go. And I look forward to the promise of Easter in a few months: fear is not the last word in my life.
People tell me what it’s like during the first holiday season following a loss. Whether it’s the loss of a spouse through death, the loss of a marriage, or the loss of a relationship, I hear similar things. The thought of being alone for the first time in years was frightening. Not having an arm to hold at holiday festivities leaves them feeling incomplete.
Making matters worse, everywhere they look, from television commercials to the shopping malls, they see happy couples doing happy things together. These images only serve to reinforce their feelings of anxiety and loneliness.
And if they are divorced there is nothing quite as anxious and stressful as having encounters with relatives during the holidays. Having to talk about things that are personal and painful.
The holidays can indeed be very painful, especially when we desire to spend them with someone special. So it’s easy to feel incomplete, lonely, and anxious. It can be overwhelming.
One of the great messages of the incarnation is that God is near, very near. Jesus is now with us, even in us.
The Christmas message is a celebration of God’s love toward man. The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is nothing if it is not personal. God loves you individually. He knows you better than you know yourself, yet He loves you. He entered this world, took on human flesh, and died on a cross to bear your sin, and to remove your guilt. He did it so you might enter into His presence.
The God of the universe has come very near. Could there be a more profound answer to our aloneness and anxiety?