The True Meaning of Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, AD 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in 1965 on CBS.  I was 8 years old and I was stunned at the time by the passage of Linus quoting the Gospel of Luke in explaining the true meaning of Christmas.  Apparently CBS executives wanted to cut this passage out, but Charles Schulz, normally a fairly non-confrontational man, was adamant that it remain in.

That was the most important battle Schulz waged and won over this first of the Charlie Brown specials, but there were many others.  The CBS executives wanted a laugh track, they didn’t like using kid voice actors instead of adult voice actors and they thought that the jazz music throughout the show was too unusual for what they perceived as a show for kids.  When the show was finished the executives were horrified and thought they had a major flop on their hands.

The show was a critical and popular success, with 50% of all televisions in America tuned in to it when it was first broadcast.  The show won a Peabody and an Emmy and became a Christmas fixture for many American families.  It is still broadcast each year, ABC acquiring the rights from CBS in 2000.  The ending of the show underlines Schulz’ s desire to focus on Christ, something sadly lacking too often at Christmas time.

7 Responses to The True Meaning of Christmas

  • I was four years old when the televised versions came out.
    Luke’s passage and Linus proclaiming it brought tears to my eyes….still does.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • “thought they had a major flop on their hands”

    How many times the ‘experts” have misunderstood and underestimated the people!

  • I too am a child of the 1960’s and I love this Christmas TV Special! Sadly, we will probably never see another “new” Christmas special for kids mention the nativity or Jesus. On a side note, I also love “The Little Drummer Boy”. Has anyone noticed they don’t run this anymore? And it’s the only Rankin Bass Christmas special that touches on Jesus and his birth. I haven’t seen it in years. I even wrote ABC earlier this week, and asked them why they are not running it during their 25 Days of Christmas, and they have not written me back yet.

  • Hooray for Charles Schultz!

  • Bob: “I even wrote ABC earlier this week, and asked them why they are not running it during their 25 Days of Christmas, and they have not written me back yet.”
    Let us all write.

  • That was a really nice post Donald. I always loved the innocence of Charlie Brown.

    It’s a shame they don’t run any Christ-centred Christmas specials this time of year. I remember 20 years back they would at least give us the token The Ten Commandments (ticking the biblical box). But today….nothing.

    This reminds me on abit of a side note- My 6 year old was sitting with me in the shopping centre today and remarked “Why did they cross out Christ” in reference to a Xmas Sale sign. “Don’t they know Christmas is about Christ?”

    She was disgusted.

    I was very proud.

    This is the same girl that stated bluntly, whilst watching the televised Mandela Memorial where a Sheikh gave a prayer tribute, “he’s going to be shocked when he meets Jesus in Heaven and finds out He IS the Son of God”. I nearly burst out laughing. I love the innocent truth from a child.

  • Ez.

    You rightly should be proud of your lul’ girl. The poor Christ….still being abandoned scorned and scourged.

    We can make reparations with our prayers and fasts. Jesus born in poverty make our hearts like unto Thine.