While the rest of the neighborhood is busy anticipating the arrival of the Christmas holiday, Charlie Brown is depressed. Expressing his despair to his pal Linus, elicits this classic response, “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you are the Charlie Browniest!” This “encouragement” aside, our round-headed protagonist sees little in the world around him to change his mood. His dog only wants to win the cash prize for a decorating contest. His sister only wants piles of presents. His co-director for the Christmas pageant wants only personal acclaim and an aluminum Christmas tree. Surrounded by commercialism and self-centered ambition, Charlie Brown eventually exclaims, “CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT?”
Can you relate to this classic setup from the 1965 classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”? What is Christmas all about?
As Linus tells Charlie Brown, Christmas is all about the birth of a Child: Jesus Christ. Christmas is a “birthday” celebration. This is reflected in both the words “Noel” and “nativity” (words of both Latin and French origins meaning “arisen by birth”). Christmas is about the celebration of life that arises from Jesus’ birth.
At Christmas, though, we do not simply celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded of many, many other “re-births” made possible by Him. As the third verse of the Charles Wesley song, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” says, “Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His glory by, born that men no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth. Born to give them second birth!”
What is this “second birth” spoken of in this song? How can we celebrate the birth of Jesus AND the re-birth of millions (including our own lives) this Christmas? We will take a look at that this Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services. We will be in part 4 of “The Christmas Carols” series, focusing on the song “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and its roots in Luke 2:8-14, John 3:1-16, and 1 Peter 1:3-9. Make plans to worship with us as we open the “present” of new birth this Sunday morning. See you there . . . and bring your friends and family with you!