That's What Fellowship is Really About, Charlie Brown ...

12/17/20233 min read

I watched the 1965 “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the other day, a holiday special I would always have summarized like this: Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas amidst shallow commercialism, and the truth is revealed in the Christmas story from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke.

After that famous moment, I always kind of half-watched, but instead I noticed something for the first time this year. Following Linus’s recitation of the story of Christ’s birth, Charlie Brown takes his pathetic little tree and, armed in his new conviction about what really matters, hangs a single bulb on it from Snoopy’s award-winning decorations. The tree collapses. Charlie is plunged into an even deeper despair than before, blaming himself for ruining it and, in fact, ruining everything.

But his friends have followed and rally around the tree. Linus’s blanky and a frenzy of care and work from the group revitalize the little tree, finally realizing Charlie Brown’s vision.

Here’s the additional spiritual truth I’d ignored from this show but find I’m appreciating so much in this season of life: Charlie Brown, energized by his young faith, tries to take action alone. And fails. The part of faith he still needed, like that piece of a puzzle that hasn’t quite clicked into place, was fellowship.

Two uncomfortable truths prepared my heart to see that element of the show this year.

  1. I’m an idea person. God blesses me with ideas, and I’m an enthusiast by nature, so I launch into them. Add a dose of “control freak” and you’ll find me going it alone on projects with exuberance … things that would have been better if I’d just sought out the gifts and purpose of the family of believers I’ve also been blessed with in my life.

  2. On top of that, I’m at one of those seasons with which many can probably relate. I’ve been a bit disillusioned and hurt by some of that family of believers recently. We all know it happens. We’re all just people in need of grace, after all, and I know it, but half-truths and judgment, even in the form of social carelessness rather than deliberate cruelty, still hurt.

The other day, I had a new idea. It was a way to show love and meet the needs of a certain group of people, and I was immediately excited. And overwhelmed. I thought, “Oh, I’d need help to make that work.” In fact, in praying, I knew I’d need the support of some of the very people who’d accidentally been hurtful.

Maybe that’s why Charlie Brown’s tree has taken on new meaning for me this Christmas season. Instead of nurturing hurts at the hands of his peers, he was blessed to be able to really harmonize with them in worship. In real life (rather than animated life), that story goes on. It brings deeper relationships united in the sharing of gifts. It leads to understanding and mutual growth. Better, clearer vision and opportunities to truly act as the hands and feet of a Savior born into the humblest of circumstances to clean us ALL up, even as we meet the needs of others.

The fact is, I’ve been very careless with others, too. But God needs me to keep listening and remembering that He’s always used imperfect people to show others his perfect love. We’re better together.

And that’s what fellowship is really about, Kim Garee.

Together now: “Loo loo loo loo loo loo loo loo (breathe) Loo loo loo loo loo loo loo (breathe). [Repeat]”

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us all from sin." 1 John 1:7