Fifty Years of Linus Explaining the Meaning of Christmas

As an explanation of why we celebrate Christmas each year, the above video is superb and concise.

The words of Linus are of course taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke:

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 Saviour, 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.

Hard to believe that it is now a half century since I first watched this.  It has not lost a fraction of its magic because the Good News it conveys is timeless.

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  1. We can be quite certain that this video honoring Christ’s birth won’t be flashed on St. Peter’s dome as a light show and offend everyone watching.

  2. My girls watched this a half-dozen times this morning, and were able to remember parts of it during the advent calendar chocolate after dinner.
    (Alright, it’s just a start.)

  3. I always rather liked this version, the first known in Scots, by John Purvey, dating from around 1388
    “And schephirdis war in the sammin cuntre wakand and kepand the wacheingis of the nycht on thare flock.
    And, lo, the angel of the Lorde stude beside thame, and the cleirnes of God schynit about thame ; and thai dredd with gret dreed.
    And the angell said to thame, Will ye nocht dreed; for, lo, I preche to you a gret ioy, that salbe to al the pepile.
    For a saluatour is born this day to you, that is Crist the Lord, in the citee of Dauid.
    And this is a takin to you: Ye sal find a yonng child lappit in clathis, and laid in a cribbe.
    And suddanlie thare was made with the angel a multitude of heuenlie knichthede loving God, and sayand, Glorie be in the hieast thingis to God, and in erd pece, to men of gude will”
    Many of the words are still in common use today in my part of the country: nicht for night,thame for them, nocht for not, lappit for wrapped &c Salvator survives in the name of St Salvator’s College at St Andrew’s University.

  4. Linus’ Scripture reading was one of the aspects of “Charlie Brown Christmas” that the executives at CBS disliked in 1965 and tried to get Schulz to change or tone down. Schulz stood his ground even though the network brass were sure they had a too-preachy ratings disaster on their hands… and the rest is history.

  5. I recently learned something very beautiful and subtle about this scene–something that I never noticed in all the years of watching this. You will notice as Linus begins his speech, he is holding his blanket in his left hand. When he gets to “Fear not”, his left hand drops out of frame and when he brings it back up again, he is no longer holding his blanket. You can later see that he dropped his blanket beside him as he is reminded of the angel’s words. A blessed Advent to you, Donald, and to all your readers, and a very Merry Christmas.

  6. How nice of you to add this to your blog! I have always loved the Peanuts specials, even now that I am over 50.

    Mr. Schulz never spoke down to children or went for cheap, violent or off-color entertainment. He respected them and did not attack their innocence. Perhaps that is why we remember him with fondness, and his works are every bit as relevant now as they were originally.

    I had the pleasure of watching old Christmas specials on an oldies TV network. Andy Williams, Judy Garland, and others. Such good memories.

    My favorite, though, was Perry Como’s Christmas show, circa 1973. At the end of the hour, there was a live presentation of the Nativity story, with animals, beautifully and respectfully staged, which Mr. Como narrated using the words of St. Luke. And of course, “O Holy Night”, sung with reverence by Mr. Como.

    Can you imagine such a thing happening on network TV today?

    I understand Mr. Como was a devout Catholic who consistently demanded wholesome standards for any of his performances. No wonder TV shows such as the Peanuts Christmas and Perry Como’s Christmas specials are considered classics.

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