Friday, December 19, 2008


Television and film have helped shape our modern view of Christmas spirit and peace on earth. It’s a Wonderful Life made a comeback, and positioned itself as one of my personal favorites years ago. It just wasn’t Christmas until I heard the bell ring, and knew that Clarence had earned his wings! Oops, that was a spoiler for those who have yet to watch this 60-year-old film!

My own generation followed Bill Murray in Scrooged (His version of A Christmas Carol), or watched little Kevin learn to survive without the parents, in Home Alone. White Christmas sets the festive mood for some. When it's on, I’m usually pondering why someone named their kid Bing. I sit there wondering if repeating his name will make more sense of it (Bing, Bing, Bing...). Of course we can’t open presents until we’ve seen Ralphie get his Red Ryder BB gun - and nearly shoot his eye out, in A Christmas Story!

Another category of holiday films has emerged over the years. Some movies, although their plots don’t center on Christmas, seem to be played and expected more often around the season. They’ve managed to capture Christmas magic, without the elves or reindeer. These I call non-holiday holiday films. A short list of examples should clarify:

  • Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Sound of Music
  • Neverending Story
  • Princess Bride
  • Lord of the Rings

No doubt, you immediately see what I mean. You probably even have a favorite non-holiday holiday movie! The Wizard of Oz was always mine. Due to each installment being released in December, LOTR has recently topped the list. The Sound of Music has grown on me. My attitude used to be, “Another song - time to go to the kitchen for more popcorn..."

These movies serve the purpose of keeping our system from being overloaded by story lines where Santa has to find Rudolph, get married, get out of jail, or overcome Martian invasion in order to save Christmas. There are only so many hours of candy cane plots the human body can stand!

Movies that capture the Christmas spirit seem to share a common trait: The struggle to overcome obstacles, or good overcoming evil. This theme cuts to the heart because the heart is constantly in a struggle to overcome. This is the true meaning of Christmas. This is one of the main reasons Jesus came! (Click here for a more complete list of why Jesus came to the world) Maybe this is why non-holiday holiday movies are sometimes more meaningful than their sugary counterparts.

The good news is that no matter how troubling we find our lives, or our world, Jesus came and overcame for us!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Go ahead and watch that non-holiday holiday movie. Hopefully you’ll include The Nativity, or some other actual Christmas story as well. Whatever you watch, or listen to, I pray you will remember that as long as you are in Christ, you are in His peace. This peace is not just the avoidance of conflict, with danger still threatening in the nervous quiet, like the eye of a storm. This is the peace of victory! The enemy has been defeated, is no longer a threat, and there’s no better peace than that!

1 comment:

  1. Hey! Uncle John I just had to let you know that Bing Crosby was born Harry Lillis Crosby and when he was a kid he got the nikename Bing because I think there was a cartoon character in that time named bing. Anyways, yeah I'm a big Bing Crosby fan! lol just wanted to fill in you on a little fact. :)


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