Learning from Linus

Something happened last night while my kids and I were watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. Right after Linus quotes Luke 2:8-14, I tweeted “I love Linus! #CharlieBrownChristmas.”

And then a fight broke out in my living room.

Matthew (7 years old) decided to pinch Bradley (8 years old). This started a chain reaction of kids getting flung off of the couch and ottoman where they had been sitting and lying quietly up until that point.

I reacted by getting up, turning the TV off and ordering all of them to go to bed. I didn’t yell or spank, I simply made them go to bed without watching the last 6 minutes of the best Christmas special ever.

Immediately there were tears shed. My four older kids (a 10-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy, and two 7-year-old boys) all slumped their shoulders and trudged toward their bedrooms, saying “We’re sorry! We’re sorry!” over and over. Mary Hope (three years old) just stood there, watching the whole thing with inquisitive eyes.

After they got into their beds, I turned their lights off and listened to them cry. I walked back into the living room, sat in my chair and pondered a little bit.

My wife wasn’t with us because she has class on Monday nights, but we have recently had conversations about how to best show grace to the children God has given us. I pondered that some. I also pondered how much I loved each of them. And I pondered the words Linus quoted as he expounded on the true meaning of Christmas. Then I grabbed the case that holds our meager DVD collection.

Finding my very own copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas, I put it into my laptop and fast-forwarded it to the spot where my kids decided to engage in a little Christmas combat. Then I called them back into the living room. They came back in, still crying, and sat on the couch.

After they calmed down I talked to them a little bit about grace, about how God’s grace was shown to us by Jesus coming into our world, living a perfect life and dying on the cross for our sins. I talked about the good tidings of great joy that has been and is being proclaimed to all people. I told them how much I loved them and wanted them to have a better understanding of grace.

Then I sat my laptop on the ottoman and pressed play. Their eyes lit up as they watch Charlie Brown take his sorry-looking tree back home, give up on it and then sing along with his friends after they made a beautiful tree together.

When it was over my kids had a few questions about Jesus being born and laid in a manger, about Heaven, and about why some people think Christmas is about presents when it is really about Jesus.

After our Q&A, I hugged each of them and walked with them to their bedrooms. Their eyes weren’t filled with tear this time; this time they looked to be filled with love, joy, and even a little peace.

Our good night fell apart because of a fight, but it was redeemed and became a great night–all because of grace.

What is your favorite Christmas special?
How have you experienced God’s grace recently?

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26 thoughts on “Learning from Linus

  1. God brought a doctor into my life who is going to give me a free exam since I have no job & no insurance. That was a blessing.

    And I love It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s really the only “Christmas” themed thing I stop to watch since I can’t seem to find the original “Miracle on 34th Street” on TV anymore.

  2. These kids have been blessed with wonderful parents. What a great way to turn a bad situation into a learning situation that memories are made from.

    My favorite has to be The Grinch, fond memories of watching this as a child with my father. My guess is that Charlie Brown is going to be your children’s favorite when they get older.

  3. That is awesome! Beautiful lesson.
    My favourite Christmas Special is the Sesame Street Christmas special from the 80s (Big Bird goes on a hunt for Santa and there is a figure skating theme at the beginning).

  4. Hands down, A Charlie Brown Christmas is my favorite. Such a great story and some good humor in it. Plus, it starts gladiator fights, which in return gives us an opportunity to teach about grace. 🙂

    Love the Charlie Brown Christmas CD too. One of my favorites!

  5. Ah, to have little ones again. 🙂 Well done on the object lesson. Kidlets learn the best that way. It’s a Wonderful Life is hands down best Christmas movie ever!! But I really must confess that The Year Without a Santa Claus is my guilty pleasure only for the quintessential sibling rivalry song of all time! We never celebrated with Santa Claus and my kids didn’t grow up with it except for having fun watching the movies. Heat Miser and his rival stepbrother Snow Miser are a must see every year!

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