Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28Linus, blanket in tow, steps forward and says, “I know the true meaning Charlie Brown.” As the lights fade and a spotlight snaps on, Linus gives his well worn thumb a few more sucks and then begins, “In that region there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night...” and he finishes the great story with Luke’s account. When Schultz presented his finished project, his producer was stunned and said, “You can’t do this...it’s too edgy...it’s too religious. This is your first shot at television, maybe your only chance. Why take the risk?” Of course, Christmas in prime time 1965 was a special with Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis or Perry Como – not Bible quotes. But Schultz was unmoved and then he said, “If we don’t tell the story...who will?” January brings us Christians the season of Epiphany. Epiphany, literally meaning “manifestation,” opens the revelation of God not just to some people – but to “all people.” It is the season where we are reminded that God chooses to tell His story of love for each of us. But of course, that story continued – again and again, through story telling. Jesus’ primary method of “telling the story” begins with choosing disciples, calling on them to follow and then charging them to share that message with the world. And this, frankly, is how our faith grows…by inviting FROM THE RECTOR Y ou remember the plot. Charlie Brown is asked by Lucy to direct the school Christmas project to help get him out of the holiday doldrums. In no time, the promising project begins to fall apart. Charlie’s descent into the Christmas-tide blues began when he notices everyone seems to be caught up in the rat race of commercialism – even Snoopy, his dog, decorates his own little house with so many lights and bangles that he wins first place in the neighborhood contest. With the collapse of the play, and commercialization on ever side, Charlie cries out in desperation, “Doesn’t anyone know the true meaning of Christmas?” others to follow our Lord. For Jesus that began with two simple words, “Follow me.” (cf. Matthew 4:18-19, Mark 1:17 and John 1:43) Note, that as Jesus begins His ministry by calling others with this invitation, “Follow me,” He ends His earthly ministry mirroring the beginning – “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them...” (Matthew 28:19-20) You notice something about all of those important words? They are verbs, not nouns. Jesus does not say to sit, ponder, question, think. He tells His disciples to follow, go, make, baptize, teach...why does he do this? Because if they did not tell, who would? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you are His disciple; and this invitation “to follow” comes with the bonus of a charge to “go, make, baptize, teach...” This charge is not just to clergy-types...it is to you – whether you are a banker, homemaker, real estate agent, physician, land-man or retiree. Why? Because, if you do not tell, who will? We call this telling “evangelism,” which gets its root word “evangel,” from the Greek, “evangelon,” which meant “Good News,” the words Jesus used to describe His message. I have, over the years, heard disparaging remarks about “evangelical” Christians, but that is when the press often associates a certain “voting block” with various political In the summer of 1965 Charles Schultz got the opportunity to launch his career beyond comic strips and pithy cartoons. He got a call from his producer saying, “I have a corporate sponsor who wants you to write a Christmas special – and you have two weeks to do it!” Schultz got on the ball producing the story most of us know by heart and it’s still a favorite more than 50 years later. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS 02 THE STAR I JANUARY 2017