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Charlie Brown Christmas  

On December 9, 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired for the first time on television. Most everybody knows that Charles Schulz was the creator of the iconic cartoon strip called Peanuts.  


But what fewer know is that when the animated Christmas special was under discussion, Charles Schulz stood toe to toe with television network executives insisting the program include a reading of Luke’s gospel account of the Christmas story. The biblical passage was necessary, said Schulz, to counterbalance what “had been lost in the eternal good-time frivolity.”

After serving in World War 2, Schulz became a Christian and taught Sunday School in churches in the Midwest and California. As life went on, though, Schultz’s faith began to fade. To the point that he referred to himself as a secular humanist. In one of his comic strips, Sally asked Charlie Brown if people went to heaven after they died. “I like to think so,” was Charlie’s underwhelming answer. In an ironic tragedy, the creator of Charlie Brown fell away from the Great Creator. 


But don’t we see that very thing happening around us today? A third of America’s evangelicals don’t believe Jesus is God. Shockingly, almost 70% of today’s born-again Christians don’t agree that Jesus is the only way to God. Many evangelicals now accept and even defend clearly unbiblical behaviors. The younger Charles Schulz might look at our warped theology and call us blockheads!


But Schulz’s sad ending reminds us that when it comes to Christmas, there are at least two dangers. The first is that we may never really come to know the Christ of Christmas. The second is that having known Him, we could walk away. 


Drawing near—or pulling away. Where are you with Jesus?


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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