My children have a collection of Peanuts movies that sometimes rotate to the top of their favorite requests–requests that send us flying through the calendar celebrating various holidays at crazy times. Last week we were celebrating Thanksgiving with repeated viewings of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “The Mayflower Voyages.” I like Peanuts. Mr. Schulz was not above using the words “God” or “blockhead” in a children’s program when appropriate. I like that.
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is the story of how Peppermint Patty invites herself and several friends over to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a celebration of how fast Snoopy can make buttered toast, how “wishy-washy” Charlie Brown can be and how bulldozer-like Peppermint Patty can be. In the immortal words of our wishy-washy friend in the striped shirt, “You can’t explain anything to Peppermint Patty because you never get to say anything.”
In the end, Marcie reminds us that, “thanksgiving is more than eating… we should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by thanksgiving, Charlie Brown.” How true.
In looking back through some of my past journals, reviewing signposts on my inner journey that may have been forgotten, I’ve been reminded that a thankful attitude is one way to right our view of others and usher in intimacy–with one another and with God. When difficult times, discouragement or my own wrong attitudes take a toll on my closeness with God, thanksgiving becomes the key to being together again.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.” (psalm 100:4-5)
Thanksgiving helps us to enter God’s presence. It is the gateway that leads to His courts. It is the starting point in setting our attitude and vision of God straight when it may have gotten off track. When we approach God with thanksgiving, we acknowledge Who is responsible for our blessings, our salvation, our life. Thanking God for the things He has done for us and for Who He is to us silences a complaining and questioning spirit. It makes communion with Him possible.
Thanksgiving helps to dispel doubts about God that may have crept in because it focuses our attention on how His true character has been manifested in our lives in tangible ways. In recognizing His true character, we are able to enter His courts with praise. By developing a heart of gratitude toward God, we give Him credit for His goodness in our lives. If I choose to thank God, I choose to recognize His faithfulness. I can see that He proves His own character by his goodness, lovingkindness and faithfulness in my life.
Thanksgiving opens the gate to praise, which leads me to the place where God resides. Complaints are forsaken. Doubts are put to rest. Closeness is restored. And, it’s not even November.