Friday, December 21, 2018
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It's the king of all the classic TV Christmas specials: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" of course. We know those familiar scenes of Charlie Brown sadly looking for the meaning of Christmas, Snoopy's Christmas decorations on his doghouse, Lucy's Christmas pageant, Charlie's pitiful little Christmas tree, and Linus' appearance on center stage to answer Charlie's question about what it all means. Linus quotes straight from Luke's account of Jesus' birth. Those are all things we know about that special. What I just learned recently is contained in an interview with one of the co-creators of that show. When Charlie Brown creator, Charles Schulz, first suggested including the mention of Jesus in the special, he met with some pretty serious objections from the network. They almost tubed the project because they feared they wouldn't be able to sell advertising on a show that talked about Jesus. You know what Charles Schulz did? He stood his ground and he simply said, "If we don't do it, who will? We're going to do it." The rest is history.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Unedited 'Charlie Brown Christmas.'"
With his groundbreaking project on the line, Charles Schulz refused to edit out Jesus. I'll tell you what, that's an example of courage for every one of us who claims to belong to Jesus. Because the pressure's on, wherever you work or go to school, to leave out Jesus.
That's not anything new. In Acts 4, beginning with verse 18, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible records the orders given to Peter and John by the same Jewish leaders who arranged for the crucifixion of their Savior. Here we go: "They called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, 'Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.'" Notice: the authorities didn't care if they talked about morality, about the Bible, or even about God. But the line was clear – "Don't mention the Name!"
I believe that's been the order from hell for 2,000 years, because Satan knows that the power to defeat him is in that name. It is, according to the Bible, "the only name under heaven by which we can be saved" (Acts 4:12). It is "the name at which every knee will bow, in heaven, in earth, and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10). And you know what? It is that name we choke on when we're trying to talk to someone about spiritual things, don't you think? I mean, who do you think makes you choke when it gets to the name of Jesus? Satan himself is screaming, "Don't mention that Name!"
We've been ashamed of that glorious name far too many times, haven't we? How can I be ashamed of Jesus when He was not ashamed of me when He hung, brutalized, dying on a cross? I think we've got to make Romans 1:16 our defiant battle cry: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation!"
It's time that the people we work with and recreate with and live near know who we belong to. It's time that they know that your life is anchored to Jesus Christ. He's the only One who ever loved you enough to die for you; the only One powerful enough to walk out of His grave under His own power.
Those who have no respect for Jesus are totally unafraid to speak His name carelessly and recklessly. How can we who know who He is, who've been forgiven by His blood, be ashamed to speak His name? It's not enough to just talk about your church, or your religion, or your values. The pressure may be on to edit out Jesus where you are, but we cannot disgrace Him again by being ashamed of His name.
Raise your Jesus-flag to the highest point on the mast and never lower your Jesus-colors again!