Christmas is not going down without a fight from me




A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965. I loved it back then and I love it today. It spoke from the heart of Charles Schultz, innocent and genuine. It offered a lesson in simplicity, in purity- a lesson of the heart. It was one of the early broadcast tales to nudge us into focusing what was important about the holidays in general and Christmas in particular. After all the presents are opened and everything settles down, it still is what Christmas is all about.

The NY Post notes that dedicated Christmas specials are dwindling in number:

The potential trend away from more traditional holiday musical-revue specials could be because the format is simply too staid for this live-tweeting generation. Live theater adaptations have the novelty of spontaneity; we tune in as much to see who might flub his or her lines as to have our hearts warmed by the holiday hearth. And Adele is so wildly popular right now, particularly among the coveted 18-to-25 demographic, that her special promised stratospheric live viewership, regardless of its theme.

Networks seem to be pivoting, but won’t we miss the holiday-musical revue if it disappears entirely? It’s a tradition that dates to the earliest days of TV, when Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Perry Como first initiated the Christmas-themed song, dance and comedy special in the 1950s. I, for one, wouldn’t want to lose it altogether.

Nor would I.

The holidays are under assault. Among us are the horrifically selfish who would extinguish holidays entirely. Instead of displaying the tolerance they ask for themselves, they would rather inflict pain upon everyone else. We’ve become afraid to say “Merry Christmas” for fear of offending someone. Personally, I don’t know a single person who is offended by it- neither Jew nor Christian nor Muslim nor Buddhist. From the day after Thanksgiving until the Christmas break my office plays Christmas music and it is a great thing having patients come in and smile upon hearing it. Our office is a safe holiday zone.

But holidays are under assault. In one school the production of a Charlie Brown Christmas play was censored to remove the segment in which Linus tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.

Superintendent Tom Salyer confirmed to me that the entire passage was excised from the program after the district received a single complaint.

One person ruined it for everyone. That’s not right. That passage is everything. It is the message of the show. Without that segment the play means absolutely nothing.

When students have become so s that at Ivy League schools they sign petitions to curtail free speech and in others sign petition complaining that “White Christmas” is racist I am fearful that they and other sad, miserable individuals will make all of our lives devoid of holiday pleasure. The holidays are what we are as Americans. It is who are are. If we lose them- all of them- we lose who we are as a society and as a people.

But I’m not going down without a fight. So here is the Charlie Brown segment telling us what Christmas is all about.



And as dessert, Pentatonix:


That’s Christmas to me. Merry Christmas!


Word, I thought you might like to see one cubby in our etegere:


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Here in Utah Christmas is a really big thing!
Some channels on TV even forego regular broadcasting from about the end of November and switch to all Christmas movies and specials – all the time – until at least today, if not for a few more days.
The numbers of Christmas specials is large every single day.
And, according to my weekly email from the local Mormon stake (congregation) there are concerts and even caroling locally.
Now, the secular schools might be opting out (I am not sure) but there are plenty of private schools which had big Christmas programs open to the public.
As always, the streets are lit up from both public and private decorations.

You will appreciate this:

This week A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on national prime time television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 50 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.

I am a fan of all things nostalgic and all things Christmas, and so when the two are combined I am hooked, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special falls squarely into that category.

I was in the first grade back when they still performed Christmas pageants in schools (less than 50 years, but still a very long time ago), and our class performed a version of the Charlie Brown Christmas. Since I was kind of a bookworm and already had a blue blanket, I was chosen to play the part of Linus. As Linus, I memorized Luke 2:8-14, and that Scripture has been hidden in my heart ever since.

But while working so diligently to learn those lines, there is one important thing I didn’t notice then, and didn’t notice until now.

Right in the middle of speaking, Linus drops the blanket.

Charlie Brown is best known for his uniquely striped shirt, and Linus is most associated with his ever-present security blanket. Throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and others all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket. And even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the otherwise mature and thoughtful Linus, he simply refuses to give it up.

Until this moment. When he simply drops it.

In that climactic scene when Linus shares “what Christmas is all about,” he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it: when he utters the words, “fear not” (at :38 seconds).

Looking at it now, it is pretty clear what Charles Schultz was saying, and it’s so simple it’s brilliant.

The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.

The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves.

The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to Him instead.

The world of 2015 can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, 2015 is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.”

But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found.


Merry Christmas, Dr. John!

Superintendent Tom Salyer confirmed to me that the entire passage was excised from the program after the district received a single complaint.

There is a word for this in publishing. It’s called plagiarism. You simply are not allowed to rewrite a play without receiving the express written permission of the copyright holder. By rewriting Linus’ aside out of the script, the school broke copyright laws. They have put themselves and the School District in a position where the Charles Shultz Estate, and the current script copyright holder can sue the School district (as well as personally the Director and each and every School official) who agreed to the rewrite. It is rare, but sometimes such lawsuits are filed when the copyright holder feels that their rights and the very spirit and tradition of the script were damaged by an amateur hacking away important parts and transforming the original play into something different.

There is also another little problem the school could have with this. I’ve in the past had communication with the copyright holder of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. At the time I was trying to arrange for production rights and royalties for a local non-profit community theater to produce it as a play. The copyright holders informed me that “There are no production rights obtainable for live theater productions of (the show).