Kindness of Linus

Kindness of Linus


Charlie Brown has a special place in most of our hearts for one reason or another. Multiple generations have grown up watching and reading the adventures he and his gang of friends get themselves into. For those not even a fan of the 50’s era cartoon story and characters, the incredible music of Vince Guaraldi draws them in year after year.  For many of us the nostalgic animation brings us back into the world of Charlie Brown around this time every year as the holiday specials return to television. It’s in one of these holiday specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas to be specific, that we find our moment of reflection and inspiration. This time instead of learning patience or wisdom from Charlie Brown, it’s one of his friends that we learn an important lesson.

Charlie Brown is best known for his uniquely striped shirt, and Linus is most associated with his ever-present security blanket. Throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and others all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket. And even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the otherwise mature and thoughtful Linus, he simply refuses to give it up. This is the case until A Charlie Brown Christmas where Linus is tasked with reciting Luke 2:8-14 in the Christmas play. Luke 2:8-14, “In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

In that climactic scene when Linus shares what he thinks “what Christmas is all about,” he suddenly drops his security blanket. An action that Linus had never done before, until this moment.  When he simply drops it. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it: when he utters the words, “Do not be afraid” (at :39 seconds). What can we learn from Linus in this moment of courage and clarity?

Looking at it now, it is clear what Charles Schultz was saying, and it’s so simple it’s brilliant. The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears. The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves. The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly and learn to trust and cling to Him instead. This world can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, ours is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.” But during fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found. When we reflect on the birth of Christ, we should remember the affect it has on our lives. Outside of its cultural tie to the holiday of Christmas, Christians should rejoice at this moment in history for what it means to all of us today. What security blanket are you holding onto and how can Christ give you the courage to drop it and be confident in Him? Isaiah 41:10, “‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely, I will help you, Surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”