- - Sunday, December 27, 2020

Many of us remember the classic narration from the Gospel of Luke presented by Linus in George Schultz’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas”:

“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, goodwill toward men.”

When he was finished with the last line, Linus turned and simply said: “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” thus leaving us with a beautiful example of childlike faith and belief in Christmas.

But there is more to the story, much more.

The Apostle John tells it this way:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it …

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him …

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth …”

Saint Matthew adds:

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ which means, God with us!”

In his book “The Everlasting Man,” G.K. Chesterton writes, “The human story began in a cave, the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and … archaic drawings. The second half of human history … also begins in a cave … used as a stable … in Bethlehem. It was here … in a cellar under the very floor of the world that Jesus Christ was born.”

Chesterton continues, “God [thus], was also a cave-man,” but the one whose hand had traced outlines on the wall of the world and who had brought His drawings to life was now the one whose “hands were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle.”

He concludes, “Upon this paradox … all the literature of our faith is founded …”

This is the story of Christmas, and upon it, everything else rests. It is the foundation of all we value, and all we hold dear. Grace and goodness. Faith and forgiveness. Truth, justice and beauty. Light in the darkness. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men … . All of this is the fruit of “the root of Jesse,” the only hope for mankind.

Harry Truman said it well. “Down the ages from the first Christmas through all the years [since], mankind in its weary pilgrimage through the changing world has been … strengthened by the message of Christmas … The religion which came to the world heralded by the song of the angels … remains today the world’s best hope …”

In the beginning, was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and walked among us. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Immanuel, God is with us! All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him is life, and this life is the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. 

God, who created all the world’s caves, has condescended to be born a babe in one of them. 

A sinless Savior becomes the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

And to all who believe this he gives the right to become children of God!

Upon this paradox, everything is founded!

“Do not … be troubled about the increase of forces already in dissolution. You have mistaken the hour of the night. It is already morning!” — Hilaire Belloc 

And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown

• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery).

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