For the ninth installment of Friends & Christianity we are going to look at the friends’ first Thanksgiving episode. Highly appropriate as today is PotterWars: Finding Unauthorized Faith‘s first post in the month of thankfulness.

In Season 1, Episode 9, Thanksgiving is upon our favorite six friends and, oh no, the Geller parents have gone to Puerto Rico leaving their grown children behind to fend for themselves. Seeing her brother’s distraught state, Monica volunteers to cook Thanksgiving dinner and promises to make it “just like Mom’s” (complete with canned yams and lumpy mashed potatoes). Monica invites the rest of the group as well, and that is when we learn of their plans:

Rachel ~ Somehow earn enough tip money so she can go skiing in Vail with her parents. Shoop! Shoop! Shoop!

Joey ~ Have dinner with his family as always, tater tots included.

Chandler ~ Boycott the holiday all together (due to a traumatic Turkey-day experience in his youth) while feasting on Funyuns, grilled cheese, and tomato soup (not a bad meal, if you ask me).

Phoebe ~ Celebrate with her boyfriend but, oh yeah, he follows the lunar calendar so she’s completely free. Bring on the un-canned yams and whipped mashed potatoes with peas and onions!

To cooking they go, only Rachel doesn’t earn enough tip money. A small snafu in her perfect holiday plans, as her friends rush in to save the day with the amount she needs for her plane ticket. But then Phoebe brings, be still my heart, fresh yams. They almost lose their perfect holiday cheer, but Ross lets this one slide—just make sure there are lumps in those mashed potatoes. And he’s off to go talk to his unborn child.

Food is a cooking, potatoes are a mashing, dinner is going to be banquet for the three friends, plus one Chandler watching on from the hall. But then Joey arrives, he can’t go home for Thanksgiving. Thanks (pun only partially intended) to a modeling spot, he is now on a warning poster for men who have VD—and his entire family believes he actually has venereal disease. Add totes to the list of potato fixings. And we’re ba—Phoebe destroys Ross’s potatoes by whipping them to smooth perfection (her mom made whipped potatoes with peas and onions). Potato dish number three is on the stove, Monica is only slightly on edge, and we are off and running again.

That’s when it happens. Chandler’s glory moment as the Underdog balloon gets away from the Macy’s parade. He convinces everyone (sans Ross who is over talking to his child through his ex-wife’s belly tissue) to rush to the roof to see it. They do, but what they don’t realize is no one has the keys.

Food burning, Rachel’s flight leaving, and a drawer full of unmarked spare keys, the five friends unravel. Ross’s arrival only serves to make things worse. As all his friends are screaming at each other, Chandler finally feels as if it is Thanksgiving—his experience of Thanksgiving.

Down and out about their first Thanksgiving meal on their own, they are sitting around watching skiing on TV when Phoebe spots Ugly-Naked-Guy pulling his turkey out of the oven. What’s more, he’s not alone! He’s dining and dancing with Ugly-Naked-Woman.

“It’s nice that he has someone,” says Phoebe in a moment reminiscent of Luna Lovegood (sorry, my brain is trained to go back to the Bible and Potter).

That’s when the six friends get it—Thanksgiving isn’t about lumpy, smooth, or totted potatoes. Thanksgiving isn’t about canned or un-canned yams, skiing, or even sometimes being with our families. The story, from my memory, of the pilgrims was that the Native American’s fed them when they were about to starve to death. Thanksgiving is about helping those who cannot help themselves. It is about loving the people around us whether they are friend, family, or foe. It is about being thankful for what we do have and sharing with others.

When the five friends banned together and gave Rachel the money for her ski trip, that was Thanksgiving.

When Monica offered to make a meal for whoever didn’t have a home to go to for the holiday, that was Thanksgiving.

When she went out and got Chandler his grilled cheese fixings, tomato soup, and Funyons, that was Thanksgiving.

And, when Chandler shared his assortment of anti-pilgrim foods with his friends who had burnt their meal, that was Thanksgiving….

Chandler: I know this isn’t exactly the kind of Thanksgiving you all planned, but for me this has been really great. … If you had gone to Vail, or if you guys had been with your family, or if you didn’t have syphilis and stuff, we wouldn’t all be together. So, what I’m trying to say is, I’ve very thankful that all of your Thanksgivings sucked…

Ross: And, hey, here’s to a lousy Christmas.

Rachel: And a crappy New Year!

I’m very thankful that I live in a country that has a day dedicated to thanks and giving (and fandoms 😉 ).

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ~ Hebrews 13:16 ESV

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. ~ Ephesians 2:4 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. ~ John 13:34 ESV

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