Charlie Brown: (shouting in desperation) Isn’t there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please. (A spotlight shines on Linus.) 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 Bethlehem, 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. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.’
I also pointed out that the network had concerns about the religious message, but in the past forty years I have never heard anyone complain that the show was too religious. I think I know why. Charles M. Schulz told us a story that featured Christmas elements from his childhood growing up in the Midwest including snow and a religious celebration of the holiday. Putting aside the fact that in the world of Peanuts children speak like little adults. There is an honesty in this special. Part of it comes from the fact that Linus is voiced by a real child (Christopher Shea) but Linus is also telling a story not selling a religion. Even if we all don’t believe the part about “a Savior, which is Christ the Lord”, we all should be able to get behind the idea of “on Earth peace, good will toward men”.
Speaking of Peace on Earth.
I wrote an article titled Confessions of a Toon Head.. In that article I mentioned that the Cartoon Network showed Peace on Earth (1939) on the Christmas episode of Toonheads. I described this cartoon as the supporting cast of Bambi (1942) in a scene from All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). The story opens with two baby squirrels asking their grandfather, “What are men?” when he comes in singing “Peace on earth, good will to men”. Their Grandpa tells them that there are no men anymore and describes them as violent critters who kept finding new reasons to fight. One example he gave was the vegetarian people fighting with the meat-eating people. Grandpa then tells the kids the story of man’s last war with graphic detail.After the last two men die, all the animals gather in a bombed out church. The wise old owl reads “Thou shalt not kill” from a big book of rules (The Bible). Then the animals begin to rebuild from their wastes.
Thc part about men who kept finding new reasons to fight reminds me of a fight I have been seeing waged on TV in the past week. The Bill O’Reillys and John Gibsons of the world are fighting over what we call at pine tree. Media Matters – Fox betrays Christmas crusade, sells “Holiday” ornaments for your “Holiday tree”. These broadcasting hypocrites report on a Liberal Plot to take Christ out of the holiday. As I sit in a Studio City (a few miles north of crazy liberal Hollywood) Starbucks writing this piece and drinking my venti cup of Christmas Blend, I am listening to a beautiful operatic rendition of Oh Holy Night over the speakers, and guess what? The ACLU did not bust down the door demanding that Starbucks replace the song with one about Rudolph or Frosty. As I said in My “HOLLYWOOD” Civic Pride, I live in Hollywood. I live two blocks from the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Last week I watched The Hollywood Christmas Spectacular on TV and heard a live Gospel Choir when I was walking down Universal City Walk. Leave us liberals out of this fight that is obviously between social conservatives protecting their religious holiday and the fiscal conservatives wanting to expand their bottom line. This Christmas/Holiday Season we are looking back over a year filled with the devastation of war and natural disaster that can kill ones Christmas/Holiday spirit. This is what we should be talking about instead of trees, songs or greetings. But I guess I have to be the grown up here, and it’s a sorry state of affairs when I have to be the grown up. It’s called a Christmas Tree, a Hanukkah Dradle. Hallmark carries a wide variety of holiday cards, and on Black Friday people beat the holy crap out of each other fighting over the last Xbox. (Now for those who want to attack my beliefs read Must See Sabbath and then comment). Where is the “Peace on Earth and the good will toward men”? That should be the message of the season and throughout the year.
To quote Jay Leno, “The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin”.