Of Luke and Linus

Etched in our memory ever since, Charlie Brown set the stage in 1965: “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” You likely know the message of the seasonal classic well. As the storyline unfolds, and thanks to Linus, Charlie Brown eventually discovers “what Christmas is all about.” For many of us, it’s a holiday favorite. We appreciate the simple story, and most notably its direct quote from Luke 2, but we also recognize the emotional dilemma disclosed by Charlie Brown en route to the skating pond: “I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”

We all prefer an overdose of merriment, but there’s nothing uncommon about feeling triggered or depressed during the Christmas holidays. In this fallen world, there are plenty of bonafide reasons for that. Don’t even get me started about the mental healthcare crisis in America. Add in the most destructive weather event in Kentucky’s history, and it might not be a stretch to predict more than our fair share of “bah humbug” this year. Acknowledging the depression caused by shorter days alone, Marissa Miller wrote in The New York Times: “All I want for Christmas is a nap.”

So what I want to propose today is that we allow ourselves to feel whatever we’re feeling. After all, fake happiness never helped anyone. And, strange as it may sound, some of the help we need might be found in the Christmas story itself. Let’s remember what really happened. God’s people were living in hopelessness and sorrow. The Roman Empire was ruthless. And God’s people were living in powerlessness and pain. They saw no way out because there was no way out.

In fact, the people didn’t even understand the depth of their predicament. Their sin was an even bigger problem than their sorrow. But that’s precisely the wonder of Christmas! In the form of a tiny baby, good news for the whole world was on the way. Born among us to show us the extravagant love of God the Father, God the Son was lying in a feeding trough. But you and I know that He was destined for a cruel cross.

Certainly, the resurrection of Jesus is already in view, but don’t miss my point: sorrow has a prominent place in God’s story. You may be thinking that you can’t even relate to Christmas this year, but I’m suggesting that your present sorrow just might be your ticket to the most powerful Christmas you’ve ever known. Remember the people living in darkness. Recall the personal, fearful valleys through which Mary and Joseph had to walk. And remember those startled nighttime shepherds of whom the Bible testifies: “and they were sore afraid.”

Linus was absolutely right. Ultimately, it’s the angel’s “fear not” that is the only way out of the mess we’re in, emotionally and otherwise. But while it’s still more than a little messy this side of heaven, I pray that the “good tidings of great joy” will see you through to a brighter day.

Pastor Charles

Posted in Blog Posts
4 comments on “Of Luke and Linus
  1. Gayle says:

    Thank you.!!!

  2. Tim Pace says:

    Merry Christmas Pastor Charles!

  3. Nancy Pace says:

    Amen Pastor Charles!

  4. Linda says:

    Perfect summation! Thank you’

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