When I was little I loved watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving every year. I would get excited when they started showing the commercials announcing the day and time that it would be on TV. And I hoped that we didn’t have to be anywhere that night because we didn’t have a VCR to tape it. If we missed it….we missed it. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without Snoopy and Woodstock.
I still watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with our girls every year. We giggle when Snoopy fights the chair. We giggle again when Woodstock sticks Snoopy’s ear in the toaster and then butters it. And we giggle some more when Snoopy begins to toss plates filled with toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks, and jellybeans to each guest around the ping-pong table. But there’s one person who isn’t giggling. After all the plates have landed on the table Peppermint Patty completely loses it. She yells “What’s this? A piece of toast? a pretzel stick? popcorn? What blockhead cooked all this? What kind of a Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where’ the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie? Peppermint Patty angrily tosses her popcorn on her plate and then Charlie Brown quietly gets up and leaves the table.
Peppermint Patty didn’t care that they were eating at a ping-pong table surrounded by mismatched chairs. She didn’t care that they were eating outside instead of inside. She didn’t seem to have a problem with any of the guests. She was having a good time until Snoopy started putting the food on the plates. The sight of toast, pretzel sticks, jellybeans, and popcorn sent her over the edge. Peppermint Patty didn’t think Thanksgiving looked right. She made the mistake of thinking that Thanksgiving was about the food. In that moment she failed to realize that Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the people who are sitting around your ping-pong table.
Sometimes Thanksgiving just doesn’t look right. My mom had a broken leg one Thanksgiving and my mother in-law had a broken hip last year. Thanksgiving dinner looks different when moms can’t cook. And it tastes different. too But all that really mattered was that our family was sitting around the table together.
There was another Thanksgiving that really didn’t look right. My younger sister didn’t come to Thanksgiving dinner because her baby boy had just been born. I wanted to act like Peppermint Patty and scream “What kind of Thanksgiving is this? Where’s Cathy? We can’t eat Thanksgiving dinner if she’s not here!” I’m thankful that was the only year that she wasn’t sitting at the table.
We want Thanksgiving to look like it did last year. But sometimes it looks different. And sometimes it will always look different. It may look different to a special needs family who is spending Thanksgiving at the hospital instead of at home. It may look different because of a divorce. And it may look different because your heart aches for the one who is no longer here with you. I pray that God’s presence will surround you as He carries you through this holiday.
This Thanksgiving let’s be thankful for the food we have. If the gravy is runny and the mashed potatoes are lumpy just smile as you eat them and be thankful it’s not cold toast and jellybeans. Forgive the blockhead sitting across the table from you. And remember that he probably thinks you’re a blockhead sometimes too. Be thankful for everyone sitting around your table. And pray for those who are hurting because someone they love can’t be at their table this year.