By Ashley Hooker, Crosswalk.com
Charlie Brown has been an iconic figure for over 50 years. In 1966, viewers across the country tuned in as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, premiered on television. On the surface, this story is cute. It is a story that families have shared with their children for years, but there is much more we can learn and share.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is packed with beautiful lessons for adults and children alike.
Even in the movie’s short introduction, we get a taste of how to live a life of faith and service. Not only does Linus appreciate the fruits of autumn, chomping an apple and kicking leaves, he patiently chooses the perfect pumpkin for Lucy—even though it ends up being quite a load to carry.
Better still, if you look closely, you’ll see that while joyfully offering the harvest of his beloved pumpkin patch, Linus leaves his security blanket behind.
It’s a concept you’ll find even more gloriously illustrated in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
My hope is that after you read this, you’ll view this beloved story with fresh eyes and renewed joy. Here are four beautiful lessons it offers, for Christians of any age.
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1. Keep the Faith
I think we can all agree that Linus had solid faith that the great pumpkin was coming. Linus writes to the Great Pumpkin every year. Linus is convinced that if he does not falter in his faith, the Great Pumpkin will come.
Linus has spent his Halloweens sitting in a pumpkin patch waiting for the appearance of this one pumpkin. He could have been trick-or-treating, or attending the planned Halloween party, but he chooses to keep the faith and wait in the pumpkin patch.
Christians can take a lesson from Linus about keeping the faith. There are many times when what the world is doing looks much better than what we are doing. As we walk our Christian way, we are often waiting in a proverbial pumpkin patch. The secular world sees us as people who don’t know how to have fun.
Like Linus, we should always be in the pumpkin patch, keeping our faith, as we wait for the Lord’s return. What is even more poignant is that Linus is smiling in the pumpkin patch—and he continues to smile even when the Great Pumpkin doesn’t come.
If we keep the faith, we keep smiling. Blessings will continue to flow. Others will take notice of the joy in our lives. We can be an example that as Christians our lives are not perfect. We receive disappointment. But we keep the faith.
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2. Find Strength in Sincerity
Linus sincerely believed the Great Pumpkin existed. He knew that if he chose the sincerest pumpkin patch, the great pumpkin would come. In the book version, Linus tells Sally, “The Great Pumpkin has to pick this patch. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch could be more sincere than this.”
Sincerity in our faith is crucial. Too often, we go through the motions. We go to church, celebrate Christmas and Easter, and take part in Christian events or organizations. All this looks good on the outside, but are we being sincere?
Linus knew the importance of sincerity. He understood that the Great Pumpkin would only show himself in the sincerest place and to the most sincere people.
When Christians are sincere in their faith, they fully reap the rewards Christ has for them. Doubting that God can do something limits our view. It limits the promise that God gave when Jesus said he came to give us life and life more abundant.
How sincere we are in our personal relationship with God determines how others see us. Christians are always being observed. Our actions and words should leave no doubt as to where our faith lies.
Linus was sincere in his faith in the Great Pumpkin. Charlie Brown, Lucy, Sally, and all the gang knew exactly what he believed. That sincerity gave Linus the strength, each year, to sit in a pumpkin patch and wait. He was even able to resist the temptation of a chocolate bar.
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3. Do Not Conform
Every child I know wants to spend Halloween dressed up in a spectacular costume and gather all the candy they can. For centuries, Halloween has been a time for costumes, candy, and children saying "trick or treat" when you answer the door.
For the Peanuts gang, this was the same. They were going trick-or-treating and then attending a party at Violet’s house. All except Linus. He was going to the pumpkin patch. There was to be no trick-or-treating, parties, or buckets of candy.
In Romans 12:2 Paul tells us “do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Linus is definitely not conforming to the ways of this world. He is going against every tradition associated with Halloween.
Christians can look at the example Linus sets for us. Our minds are often tempted to conform to the ways of the world. We choose to accept behavior that is against God because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or be left out. The gang left Linus out, but he didn’t let that bother him.
Linus heard the disbelieving words and the questions by his friends, yet he did not change his thoughts. Though everyone thought he was crazy, it didn’t make him change his mind.
God calls each of us to be set apart. Psalm 4:3 says, “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself…” Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” It is clear we are not to go along with something because everyone else is doing it or that makes me feel good.
Linus separated himself from his friends because he wanted to see the Great Pumpkin. We must separate ourselves from the ways of the world so we can see our Savior. Christians must keep their focus on the Lord and His word. If we do not, we end up getting a lot of candy, that when consumed, takes our happiness with it.
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4. Hold on to Hope
Christians around the world can walk their journey with Christ-filled with hope. When we read about Linus’s commitment to visit the pumpkin patch each year on Halloween, it shows us the amount of hope he has.
The book begins with Linus writing a letter to the Great Pumpkin. The reader then sees Linus inviting Sally to the pumpkin patch. Linus goes to the pumpkin patch to begin the ritual of waiting for the Great Pumpkin. At the end, even though the Great Pumpkin didn’t show up, he still says, “And who knows? Maybe next year...”
In Isaiah 40:31, the first line says those who have hope in the Lord will renew their strength. Linus has hope in the Great Pumpkin, and each year it renews his strength.
Christians have hope that our Lord will return for his people. We have hope that He has the world in His hands.
Like Linus, we should renew our strength each day and year. We have a partner in life that is in control of the entire world. No one can harm us if we only believe. Linus does not care what the gang is saying about him. He does not care that he is missing all the Halloween fun. What he cares about is keeping the faith and holding on to hope.
Throughout the entire story, Linus never loses hope that the Great Pumpkin will come. Christians can look at this example and see the importance of holding on to hope. We have hope in Christ. We have hope that he will return and gather his people to His throne.
Linus leaves us with a lot to think about. He clearly shows us how to keep the faith, have strength in sincerity, be set apart, and have hope. His commitment to the Great Pumpkin is not something to skim over.
Fellow believer, we can have this kind of faith, sincerity, unconformity, and hope. All we must do is truly believe.
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