So as far back as I can remember, I grew up with a security blanket. You know, a blanket that you carry around with you everywhere, your parents thrust into your face when you’re crying your eyes out, the one thing you can’t sleep without as a kid. Anyone else have one of those…?
My security blanket was light pink… although by the time I grew out of using it, it was more like gray with some splashes of pink. And I’m not sure this is weird or not—feel free to tell me if it is—but I named my blanket. Did anyone else do that…? Please make me feel better! Well, the name of my blanket was…drum roll please… Pink Blanket. Seriously. I was not a very original child, apparently. So kids, make sure to name your blanket something cool. Because someday, you may end up in front of hundreds of people on Christmas Eve, talking about how lame the name of your blanket was!
Whenever I watch Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang in their TV cartoons, I feel better about my security blanket history. It’s because I can intimately relate to Linus. Linus is the one who walks around everywhere carrying a blue security blanket. I’ve never seen him without it near him. And although Linus is a very smart, mature character, he still holds on to his blanket like the world is about to end.
Every year, my family has the tradition of watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. Anyone else watch that every year…? Well, Linus is a big deal in it. When Charlie Brown gets annoyed about everything and yells out “IS THERE ANYONE WHO CAN TELL ME WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT??”—Linus is the one who calmly walks center-stage, asks for a spotlight, and tells everyone what the true meaning of Christmas is.
And what he says is the story we just read from the Bible. He talks about how Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem. And Mary gives birth to God’s son Jesus there. And then an angel shows up to the shepherds, tells them not to be afraid, and to go see where the savior of the world has been born. And then a whole bunch of the angel’s friends show up to give glory to God, and the shepherds run to see the baby Jesus, and are excited about what God is doing.
This part of the cartoon, when Linus speaks, always gave me goosebumps, even when I was really little-- because Linus tells the Christmas story from the Bible with such passion and conviction, telling Charlie Brown and their friends what Christmas really is all about.
I recently read something about this part of the cartoon that makes it even more special. Blogger and writer Jason Soroski points something out that blew my mind.
So Linus is telling the story of that first Christmas, and he’s holding his blue security blanket, as he always does. But when he gets to the part where the angel shows up to tell the shepherds about Jesus’ birth—the part where the angel says to them “Fear not”—Linus actually DROPS HIS SECURITY BLANKET. Like, the blanket that he is never separated from, that makes him feel safe, he DROPS IT when recounting how the angel tells the shepherds “Fear not”.
This is a huge deal. Have you ever tried to separate a kid from their security blanket?? It’s not pretty. But Linus drops the blanket on his own during that part of the Christmas story.
And Jason Soroski points out that it’s not a coincidence that he drops the blanket at that point. He drops it during the words “Fear not”. That blanket, that gave him security when he was afraid or uncertain or nervous, is no longer needed in that moment-- because Linus doesn’t have to be afraid anymore. Just as the angel told the shepherds “fear not—Jesus is born”, we hear that for Linus, and for us. We don’t have to hold on to those things that we think give us security—because Jesus was born for us. Jesus gives us true security. We don’t have to be afraid anymore.
Linus knew this immediately and drops his blanket, knowing that Jesus is the one who comforts him and keeps him safe. He no longer needs that blanket in the same way. He realized that Jesus is the only one who can take away his fears, the only who gives us true security.
And if you seen A Charlie Brown Christmas, you may remember that at the end of the show, the children gather around the tiny little Christmas tree. And Linus actually wraps his security blanket at the base of the tree as a tree skirt, and all the kids sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
Linus is able to leave that blanket at the foot of the tree while worshiping Jesus while singing that famous Christmas carol because he knows now that it’s Jesus who he can trust. The blanket is laid down in order that he can worship Jesus fully, who takes away his fears. He no longer needs to hold on to that blanket. He can worship Jesus without holding on to something that gives him a false sense of security.
As we worship Jesus today and celebrate Jesus’ birth, we too are reminded to lay down those things that give us a sense of false security. We all have something in our lives that we hold on to for dear life, thinking that it gives us hope in the midst of fear or uncertainty. Money. Accomplishments. A house. A car. A specific person. A specific goal in life.
No matter what it is, all of those things will fall short. Only Jesus, the savior born to us, gives us true security. We are able to “fear not” because our lord and savior Jesus, has things under control. He died for us so we could live a life free of fear and guilt, so that we could be free of our fear and uncertainty about what the future holds. No matter what happens, we know that as Jesus followers, we will have eternal life with Jesus. And the birth of Jesus is the beginning of that “fear not” story.
So today, as we celebrate Christmas, may we, as Linus did, lay down those things that give us false security. Let us worship Jesus whole-heartedly as the one who takes away our fears and uncertainties, and gives us hope. Let us sing of Jesus’ birth, knowing that this baby will grow up to be the savior of the world.
As we read in the Bible, and as Linus reminds us, let us “Fear Not”. Amen?