A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS will not be aired again on network television in 2023. It has been a beloved part of our Christmas culture since 1965, but the controversy of the past few years continues to keep it off of network television. Apple TV will show it for free from December 16 to 17.
The similar NATIVITY SCENE controversy continued this year as the Toledo, Iowa, fire department was forced to remove a nativity scene from its front yard when threatened with legal action by someone in the community. It has been a part of their holiday tradition in the same spot for the past 15 years, but they moved it half a mile away due to the threat.
I remember watching A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS every year when it began to be aired on network television in 1965. I was not serving Jesus and found nothing offensive or “threatening.” Now that I am following Jesus years later, I have concluded that SOME UNBELIEVERS UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT JESUS THAT MANY CHRISTIANS DO NOT!!!
WHAT IS IT?
You see it in the final climatic scene of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. In it, Linus relieves Charlie Brown of his anxiety over the over-commercialization of Christmas by reciting a passage from the Gospel of Luke, reminding him of the true meaning of Christmas:
- Luke 2:10-14 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; (11) for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (13) And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying. (14) Glory to God in the highest…
How could such a cute, cuddly baby create such a threat? The issue many Christians do not realize but only give mental ascent to is what Linus quoted, “a Savior, Christ the Lord.” A baby who is a Savior isn’t much of a threat to anything, but a Lord is!!!!
One of the challenges with people who have a Christian orientation is they only see Jesus as Savior, but not as Lord. “LORD” is defined as “SUPREME IN AUTHORITY, THE POWER TO DECIDE, MASTER, THE ONE IN CHARGE.” This is what alarmed King Herod and compelled him to secretly send wise men to search for Jesus and bring back His location so he could have Him killed. When they didn’t return, Herod had all the babies two years old and under killed to eliminate the threat (Matthew 2:1-18). Herod understood the reality of what the angels were proclaiming as they referenced the passage in Isaiah about Jesus’ Lordship.
- Isaiah 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, And the government will rest on His shoulders…(7) There will be no end to the increase of His government (Kingdom) or of peace.
Jesus wasn’t just a harmless cute baby; He was also Lord, destined to rule and reign forever. Peter echoed this reality during the first proclamation of the early church, “Let all the house of Israel know for certain that GOD HAS MADE HIM BOTH LORD AND CHRIST(Savior), THIS JESUS WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED” Acts 2:36. When John later recorded Jesus returning to earth on the last day, he saw a robe on Jesus that had the title written, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” John 19:16 (John 17:14).
Just like the baby Jesus grew, His Lordship is to expand in the lives of all His people as they live for Him. His Lordship (Kingdom) will be expanded and expressed throughout the earth as His people live under His rule, culminating on the final day when He returns. This is what brought fear to both Herod and the world today. If Jesus is truly Lord, there are only two choices: YIELD TO OR REJECT HIS RULE. Paul echoes this truth to the church, “He is the head of the body, the church…so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything… so as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, keep following Him” Colossians 1:18, 2:6.
Unfortunately, many people who self-identify as “Christian” only want Him as “Savior” but not as “Lord.” This is not God’s design. One only needs to consider some of the BIBLICAL TRUTHS ABOUT JESUS’ LORDSHIP to realize the importance of it.
All the Ten Commandments (and all Biblical instruction) begin with His Lordship. “Have no other god’s before Me…love the Lord with all your heart,” Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 4:29, 5:7, 6:5, 10:12, 11:13,, 30:2,6,10, Matthew 12:30, Luke 10:27).
The early church was birthed in the book of Acts with the proclamation that “Jesus is Lord.” “God has made Him both Lord and Christ- this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).
The book of Acts ends with Paul continuing to speak about the Lordship of Jesus. “Paul stayed two full years in his own quarters….preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:30-31).
The first expansion of the church to non-Jews came about by “Preaching the Lord Jesus” (Acts 11:20-21).
The designation “Lord” occurs 6,787 times in the Bible. The identification “Savior” is used only 37 times. God’s path to salvation includes receiving and confessing “Jesus as Lord” (Romans 10:9-10).
The last book in the New Testament, Revelation, refers to Jesus’ throne” (rule) 42 times and ends with Jesus returning to earth wearing a garment with the designation “King of Kings, Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19-11-16).
“If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be on the Lordship of Christ. When we get right on that point, we are right all down the line. God honors the exaltation of His Son.” Vance Havner (1901-1986)
Four Essential Questions To Ask Ourselves About the Lordship of Jesus as We Celebrate His Birth.
1. Is Jesus both your Lord and Savior, or are you trying to “be saved” without Him being your Lord?
2. Does the church you are a part of, and the Christianity you embrace, have the biblical aim, “As you received Jesus as Lord, keep on following Him…that He would have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18-2:6).
3. What can you do to help the foundation of Christ’s Lordship to be in everything you do and among the church you are a part of?
4. How can you ensure your gospel presentation has His Lordship in it?
For those who believe and receive Him as Lord and Savior, there is no disappointment, only peace and rejoicing at His wonderful birth! Like the shepherds and wise men, let us receive our Savior and bow our lives/knees to His wonderful Lordship. When He rules our lives, we step into the best life we can live, both now and forever!!!!