Tis the season for . . . Christmas Movies! Yay! Unless, of course, you are the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime with whom it seems any season is suitable for them to be shown. And I use the term “Christmas movie” extremely loosely given the fact that the majority of them scarcely, if ever, mention its namesake, Jesus the Christ. With much of the world’s differences on who/what it focuses on with any particular holiday or season, I’ve realized it is up to me to look for God wherever He may be found. It seems to have become more and more difficult as the years race by, but I find that when I’m dialed-in, and I quiet my life just enough, He shines through quite brilliantly.
I fight very hard not to be judgmental and cynical of how culture chooses to navigate this season. I’ve determined that whether anyone else does or not, I am going to focus on celebrating the birth of Jesus, the savior of my soul!
All that said, I really do love most things about this season, religious or not; the chill in the air, the pretty lights, the occasional snowfall, the old traditional Christmas songs that bring up good memories of my childhood, and of course, Christmas movies!
Recently, after I finished watching a slapstick and otherwise highly un-spiritual holiday favorite, I was struck by two moments from a classic part of the movie. After spending hours upon hours of meticulous and reckless time decorating his house with “25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights”, Clark gathers the family outside to share in the excitement of the official lighting. As they begin their best tongue performed drumroll, and as Clark exclaims “Joy to the world” as he brings the two ends of an extension cord together . . . nothing. No lights. No excitement. No celebration. Bewildered and disappointed his mind races for an explanation. Each family member, in turn, files by on their way back in the house. His daughter Audrey gives the first statement that got my attention; “Sorry daddy. It looks good even though they’re not lit.” After much more work and accidentally stumbling upon the solution, the lights light up the house and darn near the whole neighborhood. Clark’s father-in-law Art had the second set of comments that drew a stark contrast to Audrey’s; “The little lights aren’t twinkling Clark.” He replied, “I know Art, and thanks for noticing.” Plenty more mishaps ensue, we all get our laughs, and the plot rolls on.
The wide chasm between the loving and supportive daughter, and the cynical, impossible to please father-in-law, has stuck with me for several days. I’m reminded that every moment of every day we have a choice, we can be encouragers and hope-givers, or we can dwell on the negative and add to the hopelessness that’s around us.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says this, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” My prayer for us is that we’d take this verse to heart and be a little bit more like Audrey, and a whole lot less like Art.
~ Pastor Mitch