A ‘Great Pumpkin’ kind of faith

When I awoke this morning, it was 51 degrees Fahrenheit. For Central Florida, that is more than just a little chilly. Really. If you are on the beach in Florida and have to use your beach blanket as outer wear, you know the autumn-winter season has finally arrived. At least for a while.

My other sign that the autumn-winter season is here occurs tomorrow night (Oct. 31). ABC will air the animated classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Yes, I admit it; the animated Peanuts’ crew is one of my favorite seasonal barometers.

Every year we see Linus write a letter to the Great Pumpkin. He believes the Great Pumpkin will visit on Halloween and reward the good little boys and girls with treats and gifts. In expressing his belief, Linus encounters a little conflict, beginning with the mailbox. He can’t reach it. His sister Lucy won’t help him. With his own resources, he finds a creative way to drop his letter in the box.

He shares his excitement but it seems no one really believes him. Everyone tries to dissuade him from going to the pumpkin patch to wait for the Great Pumpkin. His sister threatens him and Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy, laughs at him. Holding firm to his belief, he goes to the pumpkin patch anyway and waits. He is so strong in his belief, he convinces little Sally to wait with him. They wait. They wait some more. Sally decides to leave. Linus, true to his belief, stays and promises to put a good word in for her.

For those who do not know the ending, I am not giving it away. You will have to watch the movie.

I wonder if cartoonist Charles Schulz knew what a great philosopher and teacher he was when he created this story. This simple children’s film provides a profound message of holding on to one’s belief and persevering in one’s mission. Linus does not let the doubters — with their snickers and threats — deter him. Nothing sways him.

A simple, childlike faith. That’s the real gift.

Movie still from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by Charles Schulz.

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