It's a Charlie Brown Christmas.....
Snow is falling..."Christmas time, is here, happiness and cheer, yuletide by the fireside...
Charlie Brown: 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.
I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.
Linus Van Pelt: Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Brown's in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest.
A number of insults...
He thanks Violet for a Christmas card the she did not send
Psychiatric help needed...
Do you think you have pantophobia?
Lucy Van Pelt: The fear of everything.
Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT!
Charlie Brown is going to direct our Christmas play
Lucy Van Pelt:Here he comes! Attention, everyone, here's our director. [Charlie Brown enters, while everyone applauds]
Charlie Brown: [sarcastically] Man's best friend.
Charlie Brown goes out to find a tree...
Do something right charlie Brown...
Linus Van Pelt: [after Linus and Charlie Brown discover the little tree] Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?
Charlie Brown: This little green one here seems to need a home.
[Charlie Brown and Linus return with the puny little tree]
Violet: Boy, are you stupid, Charlie Brown.
Patty: You were suppose to get a good tree. Can't you even tell a good tree from a poor tree?
Violet: I told you he'd goof it up. He isn't the kind you can depend on to do anything right.
Patty: You're hopeless, charlie Brown.
Frieda: Completely hopeless.
Lucy Van Pelt: You've been dumb before, Charlie Brown, but this time, you really did it.
[pause; then everyone burst out laughing]
Lucy Van Pelt: [laughing] What a tree!
Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about?[shouting in desperation]
Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about?
Linus tells the story... "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping over their flock by night.
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown..
Then Charlie Brown, fresh with Christmas spirit, heads out to decorate his little tree
Let's watch....show video 22:17-23:27
Charlie Brown: I've killed it. Of! Everything I touch gets ruined.
the kids come out, they fix up his tree...
Everyone: Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!
Kids sing, Hark the Herald Angels Sing....
and so Christmas comes, even for Charlie Brown
In the biblical Christmas story the Charlie Brown's are the shepherds.
- low social standing
- regarded as untrustworthy outcasts
- Shepherds were men whose vocation had become despised
- men who were not regarded as members of the synagogues because their work kept them busy in the fields - blue laws
- It's not the kind of job you dream about when you're a kid!
What God is doing is upside down, backwards, brilliant, comforting
God comes to the least of these.
To the losers, the pathetic, depraved, spiritual zeros. Those at the end of their rope, the bankrupt, the empty, the lepers, the lame of the world
In almost every church or religious group there are people that think that if we are going to be really good God people, we should not hang around with these folks. But we should hang around with those who look like us...
not the...the unpopular, unbeautiful, immoral, odd ducks
not the...illegal immigrants
How many of you were cheerleaders, popular in high school? I was not...are you sure that you want to hang around me?
Our brains think
God does not bless people like this
God blesses those who work hard and keep their noses clean.
God blesses those who can earn it.
and when our brains think that way...And suddenly we are full of ourselves. We become the Pharisees.
This is how religion functions...what good thing must I do to be worthy of God's blessing?
Think about who gathers with Jesus later in his ministry? Prostitutes and tax collectors and sinners. People that did not fit in, the sick, the poor, the lame.
So much so that he is accused of...hanging with the undesirables
Luke 7:3 John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath the devil. The son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
How about the story of the banquet from Luke 14:15-23
Man throws a feast. Invites his friends
They all have excuses...bought a cow, got married
21The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' 22Sir, the servant said, what you ordered has been done, but there is still room. 23Then the master told his servant, Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.
Who ends up attending? Those who most of us would never invite to a great banquet.
Imagine the Hilton Garden Banquet Room filled with the homeless, the poor, the sick, those who have nothing. and they are feasting, they are dancing. And God is throwing the party.
None of my business...what if instead of a feast for us to raise money, we raised the money for the ministry and let the homeless come to eat. they would never forget it.
But this is what God says in the announcement to the shepherds:
You are blessed for no reason of your own deserving.
You are blessed because I have something to say, and what I want to say is that I love the little people.
Those who need me.
Those who have no other hope in this world then to put their trust in me.
I will entrust them with the message of love and they will spread it.
There is not test of their righteousness. No proof that they are good God followers
That angels show up and God makes a statement to the world - an announcement
Peace on earth good will to men on whom my favor rests
On whom my favor rests
Those who did not think they were something
Those who are not full of themselves
Those who are not so busy running all over, keeping up with the Jones's
Those who are open, and have time, and maybe that is all that they have
Those who are ripe for the message
There is something about the message of God's grace that just rushes out to the poor.
Everyone in this section who has done the unthinkable. God is with you.
Everyone in this section who has really goofed up their like, God is with you.
God is on the side of everyone who there is no reason that God should be on their side.
This is counter intuitive
No wonder they call it good news.
I have an idea---
Find the weakest person in your world, the one that no one wants to hand with and buy their lunch. Give them a gift card to Panera. Ask how they are doing. If you are in high school, go sit at their lunch table.
Here is another thought
Sometimes you can't fix something, but you can make an announcement.
So lets end this sermon
If thisannouncement happened today, where would it take place
Not Lee's Summit, not WCC, probably under a bridge somewhere
but we are sill the partakers when we come to understand that we can't earn it. We can't deserve it. It is a gift to the lowly of heart.
good news. God loves you.
And to those who are particularly broken inside
If you are there and you are tired of pretending...
you may have a nice house and a nice car,
but inside you relate to the shepherds, the broken, the sick, the fed up
Peace on earth. God is with you. God's favor rests on you. Good news to you.
And so we light a candle of hope.
God help us to see your blessing.
Deliver us from the religion that makes us think we can earn it. Let us rejoice in your announcement. Let us rejoice in your love.