President Obama’s prime-time address from West Point tonight is big news, and understandably so. After months of intense speculation, he’ll be officially rolling out his revised strategy for the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Reports indicate that as many as 30,000 additional brave and courageous troops will be deployed to the volatile area.
It’s a serious subject and our president will likely deliver the news in somber fashion. Our prayers will follow these good men and women across the globe.
There is very little room for levity when matters of such grave import arise, but I just heard that tonight’s speech is preempting CBS’s annual presentation of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Say it ain’t so, Mr. President!
Back when I was a kid in the 60’s and 70’s, we couldn’t wait for the annual airing of the animated Peanuts special. I scanned the television guide for weeks, circling the listing when at last the big day arrived. Nothing, and I mean nothing, would keep me from watching.
Some of my friends were partial to Frosty the Snowman and others to Rudolph. Neither of those characters did much for me. I just couldn’t relate. As naive as I was, I knew snowmen didn’t walk or talk and I didn’t have a bulbous, blinking nose. But Charlie Brown? Chuck and I had a lot in common.
Life was hard on Charlie Brown and things didn’t always work out for the poor guy, right down to Lucy’s mean habit of pulling the football away from him at the very last moment. As a character, he played the part of the righteous underdog, the kind soul for whom challenges seemed to pile up like dirty laundry. Even his dog seemed to be wiser to the ways of the world than Charlie Brown.
Watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” gave me a good feeling inside. It gave me a sense of hope. I probably looked forward to this particular program most of all because, like Charlie Brown, I, too, was searching for the true meaning of Christmas. And like him, I found it in the birth of the baby Jesus, not in a glitzy doghouse or a tall and magnificent tree.
But isn’t it fitting that we should be talking about this and President Obama’s speech all in the same breath? You’ll remember that the program ends with Linus reading from the Gospel of Luke about the arrival of the Prince of Peace. It is a remarkable thing to hear such a clear presentation of truth on national television, but for a nation at war and so many of its sons and daughters in danger, the words of Dr. Luke—the physician/writer—serve as a fitting prayer for our times:
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
What’s one of your favorite Christmas specials?
(By the way, I just learned that CBS has rescheduled the program for next week! Whew!)