Every Christmas, my family gathers to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on TV. I have seen this show so many times that I know every scene and almost every line, but it never gets old. The simplicity of the animation and story are refreshing compared to some of today’s Christmas specials.

The plot of the story is that Charlie Brown is asked to direct a Christmas play and purchase the Christmas tree which will be the centerpiece of the production. Amidst all of the large, glamorous, artificial trees, he finds a real tree, but it is small, frail, and easily overlooked. He brings it back to the set only to be laughed at for choosing such a puny tree.

At this point, Charlie Brown is fed up with the commercialism and superficiality surrounding Christmas. He cries out, “Isn’t there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?” Linus offers the answer by quoting Luke 2. Charlie Brown then takes the tree and leaves, pondering Linus’ words. In the end, his friends join him to rally around the tree by singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

This simple story is a perfect metaphor for Christmas. Just as the little tree was easily overlooked, the story of God sending His only Son into the world has become overshadowed by advertisements and other distractions surrounding the holiday. Even the extra-loud commercials that appear throughout the breaks during the special make its point.

And just as Charlie Brown needed to hear what Linus had to say, the world needs to hear the simple story of Jesus and His love. The world needs people like you and me to tell the story.

Here are some ideas for opportunities to tell the story. The key behind these is to focus on others. People are stressed and focused on getting things checked off their “to do” lists. Rare is the person who is willing to slow down, focus on others, and lend a listening ear.

  1. Offer to babysit for someone while they go shopping or to a Christmas party.
  2. Have people over for a holiday dinner who might not have somewhere to spend the holiday.
  3. Bake Christmas cookies to share.
  4. Host a gift-wrapping party in your home.
  5. Shovel the driveway or scrape the windshield of a neighbor.
  6. Offer to help someone put up or take down decorations.
  7. Talk to co-workers about their holiday traditions and memories.

What are some of your ideas for Christmas outreach?