As I’ve noted earlier, movies have played a significant role along my own spiritual journey. So it is with Christmas. There are some Christmas movies I can’t wait to watch at Christmas time. Each one reminds me of something spiritual. And each one, I believe, transcends religion.
To the naysayers, yes It’s a Wonderful Life includes tolerance of an alcoholic (uncle Billy) and yes George Bailey does in deed seem to be a “warped, frustrated young man” when he throws that awful tirade that makes me uncomfortably recalling my own tirades. Nonetheless, it reminds me yearly to be grateful for what I have even in the midst of hardship. It reminds me of the ongoing need for me to pay more attention to community. I need to be reminded that “No man is a failure who has friends”. I relate to George’s anguished prayer in the bar and his comment after getting punched: “That’s what I get for praying” yet I also see that, for God to help George out, He/She needed to get him out of the bar first. In other words, be careful what you pray for. You just might get it.
A Christmas Story connects me with my own past, moreso my own past as a Dad. I have been known to “weave a tapestry of obscenity” that, in my case, is still hanging somewhere over the Rio Grande. I have done endless battle, not with a furnace, but with evaporative coolers. And, like the Old Man, I have been absolutely delighted by the magic of Christmas as experienced by my children. I even have a tiny Leg Lamp on my bookshelf at work!
I discussed Joyeux Noel recently and in fact watched it once again last week. It gives me hope that, in the end, our humanity will triumph.
Finally, there is what is probably my favorite. The Grinch. This wonderful brief story is nothing less than a tale of redemption wherein a creature’s hard heart is softened by music and the realization that at least the world of Whoville is not riddled with greed. Each year he challenges me to look inside at my own Inner Grinch and to see whether he is healing in any way or becoming more powerful.
And so from my inner sacred films:
“Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls!” and wherever you may be.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” And don’t shoot your eye out.
Joyeux Noel and peace on earth.
And may you have plenty of “hands to clasp” so that Christmas, Hannukah, and every other religious holiday will be “within your grasp”.
Reflection: Do movies play a part in your spiritual journey this time of year?