Last night as I sat down for dinner, I flipped on Channel 7 and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Normally I watch it on DVD but there’s something about watching it in real time on prime time.
Charlie Brown is one of my favorites, especially the Halloween and Christmas specials. I never took to Snoopy and Woodstock, who are the fan faves. Charlie Brown is one of my favorite characters because let’s face it – we’ve all been in his position before haven’t we? Things not going his way, lack of friends, lack of self-esteem. Charles is so human.
Then there’s Linus.
As I watched the program, I mimicked Linus’ monologue – “Tonight the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world.” Yep, I know all the dialogues. There’s this incredible innocence about him that is so endearing and melts my heart.
Linus believes with his full heart, full of conviction that the Great Pumpkin is real. He doesn’t believe in Santa (well, maybe he does) but truly believes, all the way deep in soul, that the Great Pumpkin is real. At one point he calls after his friends and says if the Great Pumpkin will come. Linus quickly corrects himself: “Good grief! I said “if”! I meant, “when” he comes!”
Sally follows her crush into the pumpkin patch, missing tricks or treats. I think she partly sits there in the cold and dark just to be with Linus. as any girl with a crush would do (and Linus oblivious to the fact). On the other hand I think she wants to see what the hub-bub is about. Is the Great Pumpkin really real? Well, her curiosity for the best of her: “I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, when I could have been out for tricks or treats. Halloween is over, and I missed it!” Poor Sally. I hear ya, girlfriend.
Eventually Lucy, his big sis, has to come get him at like 4 in the morning from the pumpkin patch. And so, Linus is left a bit disappointed and later still defends his belief to Charlie Brown. “Wait till next year,” he says.
Shouldn’t faith be like Linus’ belief in the Great Pumpkin? It’s innocent and yet so hard core that it seeps from his entire being. Linus writes letters, sits in a cold pumpkin patch on Halloween night, he defends the Great Pumpkin after he/she/it doesn’t show. He’s so driven in his belief. Shouldn’t faith be that way too? Shouldn’t our faith be a bit innocent, childlike even? Jesus evens says to have faith like a child, perhaps because children believe without fear and doubt, because children believe without question.
In a few weeks I will pop in A Charlie Brown Christmas and watch how Charles struggles with the meaning of Christmas. Little Linus, a child and yet so knowledgeable, will go to the center of the stage and recite a passage from the Gospel of Luke. It’s my favorite Christmas moment ever. It’s faith like a child, a childlike understanding of the meaning of Christmas, minus the trees and presents.
Faith should be childlike. Faith should rock us but also contain a bit of innocence and conviction. Doubting and questioning is welcomed. I know I’ve been there. But on the flip side, faith should be firm and one that we are ready to defend, like Linus with the Great Pumpkin.
Thank you Linus for reminding me and us to have a childlike faith.