By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
The season is filled with in-your-face advertisements and doorbuster deals, get-it-now and have-to-have lists, and bombardment upon entering any retail establishment from late October on. The oncoming surge creeps into our lives a little earlier each year. Holiday content washes over all media channels, bathing us in the sound of sleigh bells and mistletoe.
The extension of the season allows more time to reflect on what’s really important in life. For the Christian, that is the baby born in the manger to save all of humanity. But there are underlying themes that run off the original Christmas story and onto the big screen.
These ten movies shine the light of love into a dark world. Let Christmas come early, because it’s dark out there.
1. Joyeux Noel
A movie based on a real event in 1914 on the battlefront of the first World War in Europe, this movie spotlights the resilience of the human spirit. Even in the middle of the gravest conflict known to man at that time in history, all sides could not deny their inner longing for peace. On Christmas Eve, all sides cease fire, to sing carols.
There’s not as much out there to “watch” about the first World War, and it’s inspiring to see the enduring notes of truth that sing throughout the movie. Sometimes, by looking back to see where we have come from, we get a glimpse into the potential we’ve always had.
Photo credit: Youtube
2. The Holiday
Our society has a fractured view on marriage and relationships, especially on the big screen. The ripple effect of enduring damaging relationships is explored in this movie, as the characters learn how they should expect to be treated.
The reality of our busy lives is put on the screen. Many of us value progress over relationships, and then end up stunned to find ourselves alone or grasping for the wrong kind of attention.
Our mistakes don’t have to be the end of our happiness.
Photo credit: Google/By-Allison.com
3. It's a Wonderful Life
The big screen typically paints a picture of an unattainable reality, but this movie highlights what happens when life runs the opposite way of our end goal. Those who choose to do the right thing don’t always get ahead in life in the way society values success. But those who discover how to embrace what they’ve been given hold the key to enduring happiness.
The lesson to be learned is that looking back in regret burns time to be grateful. The apostle Paul wrote on being “content in all circumstances” from a jail cell. This movie takes that mentality into a more relatable societal atmosphere. Even in black and white, we’re not as far removed from the basic principles of that era in history as the colorful lives we live now might exude.
Photo credit: Google/ReadersDigest.co.uk
4. The Family Man
Even a life full of rushed decisions can have a new beginning. The focus on the family members of the main character, and the seeming inconvenience they have on his life, become the pinnacle reason for his wish for a second chance. This movie might stir the familiarity that many of us have come across during seasons of life that warrant a wish for a second chance.
Photo credit: Google/WallpaperAbyss.com
5. A Christmas Carol
This classic puts another twist on a life lived in regret. This time, from living a tight-pocketed life full of greed. Scrooge’s classic grumble in response to surrounding holiday cheer is a reflection of the inner turmoil lurking in his own heart.
As the character is visited three times on Christmas Eve, we grow to feel sorry for, and relate to, the challenging reel of events that have brought him to the Christmas at hand. This classic tale of generosity is not only the theme of the Christmas holiday, but of humanity.
Photo credit: Google/HolidayFilmReviews.blogspot.com
6. Holiday Inn
Think La La Land, but another lifetime ago. In a much different era, the same search for a filling of the soul resides. Black and white movies have something to teach us about the amount of effort it took to tell a story in much less of a dimension that we have on the big screen today. Through song and dance, the multi-faceted potential in all of us is thrown to the top of our minds. If we had to … we might.
The characters are forced to weight their choices and life decisions around either success as society sees it or from the filling of the heart. It proves that the advancement of time doesn’t allow us insight around matters of the heart. The same search we have for fulfillment today can be brought into focus by what we choose to gaze upon at Christmas.
Photo credit: Google/TheHollywoodReporter.com
A modern-day classic about a Christmas elf, this movie stirs the nostalgia of the childhood Christmas traditions of an entire “Rudolph” driven generation. But the lesson in having faith in our family reaches into most family rooms.
We live in a world of put-together families, but every ending isn’t tragically sad. Many children are adopted just like Buddy the Elf; not by Santa and certainly not raised in the North Pole, but possibly feeling alienated.
Family doesn’t have to look or feel a certain way—it only requires the common denomination of love.
Photo credit: Google/HeartRadio.com
8. The Nativity Story
There’s something magical that happens when we sit down to watch what actually happened on Christmas. Biblically fulfilled by an astronomical amount of prophesies, Jesus’ birth is the most popular Christmas story of all time.
This movie puts an image to the text that runs through many minds during the Christmas season. “The journey of a lifetime, a story for all Time,” the tagline reads. In a world quickly falling off its edges, a look back to Biblical times calls a part of us to attention that was set there all along.
Photo credit: Google/TheCatholicCatalogue.com
9. Miracle on 34th Street
Millennial children are hit with realities that generations before never had to process. Not to say that WWII and the Great Depression were easy for that generation of children to survive, but terrorist attacks and mass shootings at the frequency they are occurring is new territory for all of us.
This throwback classic story of Santa Claus reveals a layer of hope in all people. It’s the unsuspecting souls who reach out to love for love’s sake, that allow hope to surface.
Photo credit: Google/SchmoesKnow.com
10. White Christmas
Set in a post-war era pre-device and sans smart cars, White Christmas strips this holiday down to what it’s all about by bringing a show on the road.
Sometimes, the people we’re placed around end up becoming our family. Not all of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by large extended families … or any family at all. Those that are alienated in society experience a loneliness that reminds us to reach out.
The Christmas we dream of looks different to all of us, but rarely do our dreams set us in isolation. Bringing the joy of the holidays to others just for the sake of letting someone else know they are cared for and loved is a poignant message of this all-time classic.
Photo credit: Google/GoodHousekeeping.com
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, http://sunnyand80.org. “Mom” is the most important calling on her life, next to encouraging others to seek Him first … authentically. A writer, dance mom, substitute teacher, youth worship leader/teacher and Bible Study leader, she can often be found having some kind of an adventure in the small little lake town where she resides with her husband of ten years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.