Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Top 25 Christmas Movies List: #2 A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

    In this Emmy Award-Winning Christmas classic, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas.

   While on their way to the ice skating pond, Charlie Brown tells his good friend Linus that although the holiday season is underway, he is feeling depressed due to the over-commercialization of Christmas. He then visits Lucy's psychiatric booth where she advises him to be more involved and take action by directing the school's Christmas play.

   On his way to the auditorium, Charlie Brown finds Snoopy frantically decorating his doghouse. When he questions his motives, Snoopy shows him a neighborhood flyer about a lights display contest. Charlie becomes upset and feels betrayed, saying that even his own dog has gone commercial. Even his sister, Sally, asks him to write a letter to Santa requesting large sums of money which troubles him even more.
   Finally, Charlie Brown arrives at the auditorium to rehearse the play but he cannot control the actors and crew because they are only interested in modernizing the story with trendy dancing and music. As the director, Charlie refuses to commercialize the play and insists on telling the traditional story of Christmas.

   Lucy tells Charlie they need a Christmas tree as a set decoration so she suggests he go out and get a big, shiny aluminum one. But instead Charlie returns with a small, pathetic baby tree which was the only live tree on the lot. Everyone on set laughs and mocks Charlie's sad little tree and he begins to wonder if he really knows what Christmas is all about. He cries out in despair and Linus walks to the center stage to tell him. A spotlight suddenly appears shining down on Linus as he recites Luke Chapter 2, Verses 8 - 14:

    "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men."

   "And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

   At that moment, Charlie Brown realizes that he does not have to let commercialism ruin his Christmas. He picks up his little tree and leaves. He stops at Snoopy's decorated doghouse, and finds that it has won first place in the neighborhood decorating contest. Charlie places a red ball ornament on one of the little tree's branches and it flops over from the weight. He declares, "I've killed it!" and runs off upset.

   Meanwhile, the other kids, inspired by Linus' speech, begin to realize that they were too tough on Charlie Brown and have followed him home. Linus sets the tree's bent branch upright and wraps his security blanket around the trunk. The other kids begin decorating it with the prize-winning decorations from Snoopy's doghouse.

   Charlie Brown arrives and is shocked by the tree's new appearance. The kids shout, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!" and begin singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" as the film ends.

   This is the best Christmas special ever made and it has become an annual telecast since its debut in 1965. It's also amazing how the storyline still applies 46 years later. Let's all take Linus' recitation from the Word of God and remember the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season.

   Merry Christmas and God Bless!!

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