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I grew up in a house that believed in God, but not organized religion. Because of that, I will always be grateful for Linus Van Pelt. If it weren’t for that lisping, thumb sucking, blanket toting, young philosopher, I would have had a very empty, shallow existence.

As a child, Linus planted that seed of the magic of Christmas. While Charlie Brown cried out “Doesn’t anybody know the real meaning of Christmas?”, Linus popped that thumb out of his mouth and came forward with Luke 2:10-14. There was a hush, and a spotlight shone on this little cartoon boy telling of the birth Jesus. Linus had my full attention – I hung on every word. It still, to this day, stops me in my tracks when I hear it.

What a gamble Charles Schulz (a hero of mine) took – even back then. Imagine – a cartoon special with a message – and a Biblical one at that. Would that fly on today’s networks? Sure, they show it every year (and may I say, I miss the Dolly Madison commercials of my youth that used to air with all Peanut’s specials), but you’ve got to wonder if some network execs inwardly cringe at Linus’ big moment.

I say “Thanks Linus…” – thanks for showing me, Sally, Lucy, and Schroeder that there is more to Christmas than Barbie Dreamhouses, “tens and twenties”, real estate, Christmas cards, and pretty girls. There is love, and wonder, and hope.

“And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

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