In 2000, Universal Pictures released the live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey based on the 1957 book by Dr. Seuss. But in this version, before the Whos down in Whoville are robbed by the Grinch on Christmas Eve night, little Cindy Lou Who realizes that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost already and becomes overwhelmed by the materialism that it has been replaced with. But when the Whos awake on Christmas morning to find that everything associated with Christmas has been stolen from them, it only takes little Cindy’s love and compassion to show, according to her dad, Lou, that Christmas isn’t about gifts, lights or things from a store, but that Christmas is more about things such as getting together with family and loving and caring for the good of others.
Many have searched to find the real meaning of Christmas only to come up short at the end of their journey.
Christmas, a joyful and cheerful time of year for many people, is unpleasant and sad for many others who struggle with loneliness or depression during the holidays. For them Christmas is just another day of pain or guilt and oftentimes bitterness accompanies their attitude toward those who go about jolly and glad during this time of year.
Take Ebenezer Scrooge, for example. In Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol, seven years after the death of Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley, the heartless old Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost who appears to warn him that his soul is in danger for eternity if he does not change his greedy ways. In that same night he is haunted by three ghosts that take him on a journey through his own life to show him what he could not see. But before his final hour has come he is given a second chance for redemption and turns from his self-centered ways. He awakes on Christmas morning to find joy and cheer filled in his heart, and in contrast to his old life, gives generously of himself to others for the remainder of his life on earth.
But is Christmas really about generosity and good cheer? Is it only about being with family and friends, being near to the ones you love and sharing joy with those we pass by? While the two stories that have been mentioned above are timeless classics that offer some truth in respect to kindness and generosity, they both lack the real and true meaning of Christmas.
Every year America watches Charlie Brown take the advice of Lucy to direct the school Christmas play as he searches for the true meaning of Christmas. Depressed and aggravated, Charlie Brown goes out and finds the lowliest Christmas tree for the play. Despite Linus’s reluctance regarding his choice, Charlie Brown returns to become the laughing stock of all his pals and his very own dog, Snoopy. Finally in a moment of frustration and despair Charlie Brown asks,
“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
How about you, have you ever felt like Charlie Brown? Do you feel like you’re the only one trying to find your way through your busy holiday schedule, the shopping malls, wrapping paper and Christmas cards in hopes to find the true meaning of Christmas?
In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus reminds us every year what the true meaning of Christmas really is when he tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about. Quoting from Luke 2:8-14, Linus recites, “’For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…’ That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” John the Baptist introduced Jesus in this way, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
This Christmas season may you and your family be blessed as you take the time to celebrate the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and go out and share with the world the Savior who has come to take away our sin.