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There’s much we can learn from the Peanuts Gang.  From the innocence of the characters to the words of truth and the love they display, Charlie Brown and his friends are a bright spot in an ever-increasingly dark world.  

10 Lessons from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” 

The movie starts with Charlie Brown at his mailbox:

Sally: What’s the matter big brother?
Charlie: Nothing. I was just checking the mailbox.
Sally: What did you expect, a turkey card?
Charlie: (sighs) Holidays always depress me.
Sally: I know what you mean. Why should I give thanks on Thanksgiving? What do I have to be thankful for?
Charlie: (sighs) Holidays always depress me.
Sally: I know what you mean. Why should I give thanks on Thanksgiving? What do I have to be thankful for?
Linus: (approaches Charlie and Sally) What’s all the commotion?
Charlie: (grumbling) We’ve got another holiday to worry about. Thanksgiving is here.
Sally: I haven’t even finished my Halloween candy.
Linus: Thanksgiving is important. Our country was the first to make a national holiday to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is Important

In our day, stores seem to be skipping right past this holiday. They jump from Halloween to Christmas.  Of course, it’s the commercial aspects of both those holidays on which retailers are trying to capitalize, so let’s take a minute to focus on our national day of giving thanks. And let’s remember the importance of this day.

The Movie Continues…

Peppermint Patty calls Charlie Brown to invite herself to his house for Thanksgiving dinner. She later calls back and says many more want to come. Charlie fretfully admits he has never made a meal, but Linus calms his fears, telling him that they can all pitch and help.  

Ding-Dong!  The doorbell rang. Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Franklin arrived. They followed Charlie Brown to the table in the backyard.

Patty: Say Chuck, this looks like quite a spread. I bet this is one Thanksgiving dinner we’ll never forget!
Snoopy carried out a big domed platter.
Patty: Aren’t we going to say grace before we’re served, Chuck? It’s Thanksgiving.

Lesson 1

Thanksgiving is about community.  Gathering together is important.  People need people and isolation is harmful to the soul.

“It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen 2:18) is true for all people.

Lesson 2

If a task is too difficult to complete, accept help from friends.  And if you’re the friend, offer help to do the task.

Charlie Brown: I can’t cook a Thanksgiving dinner. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.
Linus van Pelt: That’s right. I’ve seen you make toast. You can’t butter it, but maybe we can help you. 

Gal 6:2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Lesson 3

Pause to remember the past.  People have gone before us and left a legacy that we must remember and then we can learn from their experiences.  

Linus van Pelt: In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought 90 of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests….

Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Lesson 4

God is the giver of all that we have.  Remember Him and take time to give thanks.

Linus van Pelt: …Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: ‘We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.”

Patricia ‘Peppermint Patty’ Reichardt: Amen. 

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…
Rom 14:6  He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord…. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks… 

Lesson 5

Be thankful for all that God has given you and all that He has done in your life.

Marcie: But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too….

Psa 69:30  I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Be Thankful for Friends

Marcie:  …We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown. 

1 Th 1:2  We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

Lesson 6

After the prayer, Snoopy lifted the lid to reveal their “feast.” He shuffled the toast like cards, then plunked a piece onto a paper plate. He added a paw-ful of popcorn, pretzel sticks, and jelly beans. Then he threw the plate like a Frisbee across the table.

Patty: What kind of Thanksgiving is this? Don’t you know anything about what cooking a real Thanksgiving dinner, Chuck? Where’s the turkey? Where are the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie? What blockhead made all this?
Narrator: Charlie Brown slunk away from the table feeling even lower than he did after losing a baseball game.
Pause and think before you speak. Consider the consequences of what you say.

Prov 21:23  Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.

Lesson 7

Marcie: (turning toward Patty) You were kind of rough on Charles, weren’t you sir? Did he invite you to dinner, or did you invite yourself?
Patty: I never thought of it like that. Do you think I hurt ol’ Chuck’s feelings? Golly, why can’t I act right outside of a baseball game?

It’s important that we correct our brothers and sisters who are in error:

Prov 27:6  Faithful are the wounds [corrections] of a friend…
Prov 28:23  He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.

Lesson 8

Peppermint Patty convinced Marcie to apologize for her. When Marcie found Charlie Brown inside the house she said:

Marcie: Don’t feel so bad, Charles. Peppermint Patty didn’t mean all those things she said. Actually, she really likes you.
Charlie: I don’t feel bad for myself. I’m just sorry I ruined everyone’s Thanksgiving.
Marcie: But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Charles. You heard what Linus said. The Pilgrims were thankful, and we should be thankful for just being together.

Again, we see the importance of remembering and gratefulness that builds harmony in fellowship.

Psa 118:24  This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lesson 9

Peppermint Patty was listening from the doorway. She entered and offered Charlie Brown her hand.

Patty: Apologies accepted, Chuck? [they shook hands] There are enough problems in the world already without these silly misunderstandings. Why you’re holding my hand, you sly dog.

Be quick to apologize and restore a friendship.

James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Lesson 10

The clock chimed and Charlie realized it was four o’clock and they were to be at Grandmother’s house at four-thirty.  So Charlie called his Grandmother:

Charlie: Hello? Gran’ma? This is Chuck, I mean Charlie Brown. We’re going to be a little late. No ma’am, they haven’t eaten. As a matter of fact, they’ve let me know that in no uncertain terms!

Charlie Brown’s grandmother responded and then Marcie announced to everyone: We’re all invited to Charlie Brown’s grandmother’s for Thanksgiving dinner!

Be welcoming to others.

Rom 15:7  Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

Lesson 10

Everyone cheered, and in the car on their way,  they sang: “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go! The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifting snow . . . oh–”

Charlie then lamented that his grandmother doesn’t live in a house, but in a condominium. He then realized that it doesn’t matter where you eat Thanksgiving dinner. Whether it’s at a condo or a doghouse, it will always be special when you share the feast with friends.

Let us always remember the importance of gathering with brothers and sisters in Christ for fellowship and thanksgiving.

Acts 2:42  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

This Thanksgiving, remember…

  1. Gathering together is important
  2. Help others in their time of need
  3. Many have gone before us and we can learn from them
  4. God has graciously given us all that we need
  5. Giving thanks to God and thankfulness for friends will help us live more like Jesus
  6. Pause and think before you speak.  Words can hurt and we want to be ministers of peace and goodwill.
  7. Correcting a brother and sister who is in error is beneficial 
  8. Building harmony in fellowship is God-ordained.
  9. Welcoming others builds community.
  10. On Thanksgiving and every day, let us always remember the importance of gathering together for fellowship and thanksgiving.

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