From The Rector…
Once a week, Steve and I watch a movie together. We each have a jar with the titles of four movies in them and alternate each week in who draws out of the other person’s jar. The agreement is that you have to watch whatever movie is drawn and no complaints. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to be a good sport about it.
From Thanksgiving to Epiphany, we change up the rules a little and write down an equal number of Christmas movie titles and put in a bowl to alternate drawing out each week (and, yes, Die Hard is considered a Christmas movie at our house, though Talladega Nights is not—the mention of baby Jesus does not a Christmas movie make!). This means that though we take turns drawing the movie, it does not mean we are alternating picks. For instance, the last two weeks have both been movies I put in the bowl even though Steve and I have both drawn them out. This can lead to some consternation about Christmas movies—but the rules are the rules and we both agreed on them in the beginning.
The joy of this selection process is that we have watched a wide range of Christmas genre—from action and adventure to nostalgia to animation. Regardless of what kind of Christmas movie it is, one thing remains constant—they always have a happy ending. Though the plot lines differ, every Christmas movie has its protagonist and antagonist. The good ones always have someone who doubts or has lost faith in God, humanity, or Santa—and by the end that faith has been restored. The really good ones not only see the restoration of the doubter’s faith, but the empowerment of that person to help restore the faith of others. I wonder if in some ways, every really good Christmas movie is simply a retelling of the original Christmas story—a light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)
We’ve all got a little Grinch in us, or Mr. Potter, or Ebenezer Scrooge (though hopefully not a Hans Gruber) and yet we also have a Cindy Lou Who, George Bailey, Bob Cratchit and maybe even a bit of Bruce Willis in us as well. None of us are all bad just like none of us are perfect. That’s the hard thing about Santa’s naughty and nice list—our names show up in both columns. The best we can do is atone for the times we have fallen short and rejoice in the times we get it right. Whether we get it wrong or right, when that is how we are living our life, then we are shining our light.
How much brighter does one’s light burn when they have gotten it wrong all of their life and have that ah-ha moment such that their heart grows three sizes that day? Or when the veil of darkness and shadow of death is finally exposed such that their life turns from greed and miserliness to gratitude and giving? Our lights can dim, but they never go out—Christmas reminds us of that every year as do so many of the Christmas movies Steve and I get to watch.
I don’t know how you are preparing for Christmas this year. Hopefully it is more than shopping and cooking and trimming a tree. Whatever you are doing in this season of Advent, take some time to remember what we are preparing for—the celebration of a baby, God incarnate, and the waiting of that same savior to return in the Second Coming of Christ. And in the cold dark night of a world that has forgotten how to hope and what we are hoping for, shine the light of Christ for all to see that we may help to restore the faith and hope of all humanity in the one who comforts us and brings us peace.
Light and Life,