What Christmas is all about plays a key role in the classic Peanuts story A Charlie Brown Christmas. The animated show clearly proclaims the birth of Jesus, our Savior. In the most well-known scene, Charlie Brown laments, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Then Linus recites Luke 2 before concluding, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
At one time, most of America would have agreed with Linus. But times have changed.
A Pew Research poll found…
“Today, 66 percent say they believe Jesus was born to a virgin, down from 73 percent in 2014. Likewise, 68 percent of U.S. adults now say they believe that the wise men were guided by a star and brought gifts for baby Jesus, down from 75 percent.
And similar declines have occurred in the shares of Americans who believe that Jesus’ birth was heralded by an angel of the Lord and that Jesus was laid in a manger as an infant. Overall, 57 percent of Americans now believe in all four of these elements of the Christmas story, down from 65 percent in 2014.”
Beliefs About Christmas
A big reason for the decline is the rise of the religious “Nones.” These people are unaffiliated with any religion. The majority are in the younger generations, specifically Millennials. In addition to leaving organized religion and subsequently churches, many also leave behind the faith they grew up with. And that includes the Christmas story and what Christmas is all about.
So much has been written about Millennials. And while I, too, have my thoughts, this post really isn’t about that. Rather, I hope this encourages us to consider the generation we’re currently raising in light of this information.
What Christmas Is All About for Us
Let’s ask ourselves three questions:
1. Are we presenting the Christmas story as a fairy tale or a significant part of church history?
Our kids hear fairy tales all the time. In fairy tales (or superhero stories or fantasy stories), magical and impossible things happen. Things like a virgin giving birth to a baby and angels appearing in the sky.
How we describe Christmas matters. If we want children to understand that these events have been passed down from people who experienced them, from one generation of Christians to another, for more than 2,000 years, we have to share the events that way.
We have to tell kids no one made this story up or dreamed it. Actual people lived the events, told other people about them. Then those people recorded their accounts and shared them with us. That’s way, way different from a fairy tale. And it makes our God way, way bigger than a story.
An example is how we present the account. We tell it as though it actually happened on December 25. In the snow with a glowing Christmas tree. In the background of the cozy stable, with wise men by Mary’s side. Okay, this is a bit of an exaggeration. But you get the idea.
God coming to earth as a poor baby to an unwed mother, in a place where animals lived and first visited by outcasts of society is grand enough. Let’s tell kids what Mary told John, and John recorded for us, and what the disciples told Luke, and what he wrote it down for Theophilus and for all of us. Let’s give children the truth because it’s incredibly beautiful, raw and real.