Persuasion 181 | A Charlie Brown Christmas

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Show Summary

For more than 50 years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has aired each December, giving us all a heaping dose of what Christmas is, and isn’t. We can all relate to Charlie Brown’s discouragement over the commercialism of Christmas—all the frenzy of decorating and performances and gifting and getting of things. Just as his dismay grows to an unbearable level, his friend Linus delivers a corrective straight from Luke’s Gospel. He reads the full passage of Jesus’ birth, hushing Charlie Brown’s heart—and ours. Interestingly enough, such blatant religious messaging was a concern for the networks, even back in 1965. Somehow the framing of Scripture within this child-centered cast of characters works and the show remains a favorite among the religious and non-religious alike.

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson wrap up their mini-series called A Persuasion Christmas. Each episode features conversation about a specific way pop culture is shaping our mindset and approach to celebrating the season. The first two episodes—A Hallmark Christmas and A Die Hard Christmas—cover all things merry and scary, yet in unrealistic narratives. This installment cuts through the make believe to reveal some truths about our current culture that couldn’t be received otherwise. This animated show is devoid of adults, leaving the Peanuts gang—mere children—to do the heavy lifting. And they deliver. Only the least self-aware among us would fail to feel a twinge of conviction about our society’s pursuit of more, wealth, and perfection as well as our bent toward alienation of the Other. How does our desire for things affect our ability to connect with others in meaningful ways? Why do we remove ourselves from those who are struggling? Why are Charlie Brown’s friends so mean-spirited? And why are we? Conversation covers everything from the way we shun the weak to how Linus is the leader society needs right now. Listen in for dialogue on topics like these for the Christmas mini-series finale, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook.

Your Hosts

Erin Straza: Web / Twitter
Hannah Anderson: Web / Twitter

Episode 181 Resources & Links

The Jew, Catholic and Midwestern Christian behind ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, America Magazine

How the Grinch Graced Christmas, by Alan Noble, Christ and Pop Culture

Did you enjoy this episode of Persuasion? Give these a listen!

Persuasion 180 | A Die Hard Christmas

Persuasion 179 | A Hallmark Christmas

Persuasion 154 | All I Want for Christmas

Theme music by Maiden Name. Produced by Jonathan Clauson.

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Episode Transcript

This transcript has been edited to enhance readability.

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