I learned to play “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi when I was 14 years old. The music from The Charlie Brown Christmas Special has always existed in my memory, and the story (by Charles Schulz) continues to profoundly influence the way I write for families.
Through the excellence of his craft, his honest characters, and his keen sense of the brokenness of humanity, (informed by his understanding of the Gospel), Schulz impacted all ages through Peanuts. For 50 years of Decembers, families have snuggled up to watch the lights dim and the spotlight settle on Linus Van Pelt, alone on the stage. When the music stops, and he quotes Luke 2 (from memory, I might add), I always cry. In the midst of a terrible Christmas play, the Gospel shows up to save the day.
That’s one reason why the music from the program has endured. The sweet, life transforming truth of the Gospel is proclaimed, and it makes all the difference. I associate that piano music with the simple power of the truth proclaimed – from the mouth of a child, no less.
So, when I began writing Scripture songs for a Christmas CD last year, it was no surprise that my hands fell into the style I started learning so many years ago. (To this day, I play “Linus and Lucy” in the wrong key because I learned it from a cassette tape player that ran a little slow.)
My whole family participated in the recording, along with cousins, friends and neighbors from around Nashville. I wanted the songs to feel like Christmas tree-decorating music, so that while we unpack the ornaments, we can sing along with the very words of Scripture that celebrate the reason for the season: the King of the Universe, born as a baby, come to “save his people from their sins.”
Sing the Bible Family Christmas releases October 20 at – www.slugsandbugs.com
A note about the artwork: I am so grateful to Matt Cosby, our illustrator/animator (Old Testament, Ten Commandments, Ninja). The music was inspired by the Vince Guaraldi trio from the Peanuts Christmas Special, so Matt’s artwork reflects the work of Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts. He did a great job “tipping the cap” to Schulz while also retaining the joyful whimsy of Slugs & Bugs. Follow matt_cosby on Instagram!