I heard of a church this year where the worship service on the third Sunday of Advent was a performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” based upon that classic television special. The sanctuary was full of the family and friends of the cast members and everyone had a rollicking good time.
I suppose the Linus character’s scripture reading of the Christmas narrative was what made the pastor and worship committee of this congregation feel this was appropriate for the worship service, rather than presenting it as an entertainment at a separate time.
I don’t know what prompted this particular church to substitute an exercise in nostalgia for a time spent worshiping the Savior, but it fits with the current trends in our culture.
We’ve all bemoaned the commercialization of the Christmas observance, but beyond that there is a growing trivialization of this Holy Day, even among believers.
Too often the focus of the Yuletide celebration is romantic sentimentality or a nostalgic yearning for the “magical” feelings from childhood. Both of these responses are a form of self-worship.
The Christian church has two supreme holy days set apart for us to recognize God’s sacrificial gift when He stepped into the confines of our human experience and took on the sins of us all by dying an excruciating death for our salvation; two days dedicated to giving thanks for His great mercy and His amazing grace.
It seems so little to ask of us that we set should aside four worship services in Advent, plus the hours of Christmas Eve and morning to focus on the first of these gifts, and a few hours every Resurrection Sunday to celebrate the second.