Christmas Lost and Found
By Hal Lindsey
In the early 1990s, country music artist Clint Black wrote and recorded the hauntingly beautiful song, “Looking for Christmas.” He wrote, “I’m looking for Christmas; in time for this Christmas.” That’s a good description of something millions feel this time of year. Something precious has been lost, and they have until December 25th to find it again.
Almost everyone occasionally feels a kind of emptiness during the holiday season. Part of the problem is that our expectations for Christmas are so high. We are flooded with a tsunami of advertising where people find perfect joy and fulfillment because of the gifts they buy or receive. Gift giving is a great part of Christmas — especially if it reminds us of the ultimate Gift. But ever newer and better products will not satisfy the yearning for a real Christmas.
Also, the present-day must compete with ghosts of Christmases past. Our earliest Christmas memories include a child’s delight in the presents, trees, tinsel, lights, tastes, and smells of Christmas. And those childhood memories include the presence of loved ones now gone. At Christmas, perhaps more than any other time, we miss people so much that the ache becomes almost physical.
People across America and around the world show a deep longing for something genuine and meaningful in an increasingly superficial world. The trees of Christmas, the lights on Main Street, the food, the whimsy, even the fake snow are all fine in their place. But they will not satisfy our yearning for the true and meaningful. The reality of Christmas rises to an entirely different level.
Almost every American has seen Charles Schulz’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” In it, Charlie Brown has become the director of the Christmas pageant. But his attempts to make it meaningful fall short. Finally, he comes to a point of despair, and says, “I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about.” Then he shouts in desperation, “Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
His friend Linus says that he can answer the question. He steps to center stage, asks for lights, and sweetly quotes Luke 2:8-14. “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.”
When Linus finishes, he picks up his blanket, walks back to Charlie Brown, and says, “That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
The simplicity of the animation and the blatantly Christian message of the show scared CBS officials when they first saw it. But it was a massive ratings hit from the first time it aired in 1965. And it has been airing ever since. It has become a beloved part of Christmas for millions. Why the success? Using the voices of real children, Charlie Brown and company expressed the despair of modern man. Then Linus showed us all where to find the season’s true meaning.
I pray that you enjoy every part of the Christmas celebration this year. But amid the various ornaments we place on the holiday, don’t forget the Christ of Christmas. Remember to remember Jesus.