Do Christmas movies always focus on the same message?

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If you think so, what is that message? If you think not, what do you view as the most common message of the Christmas movies you watched this year? If you did not watch any Christmas movies, why not?

I watched about 20 Christmas movies this year. A few were “make a buck any way you can” romances, beginning Thanksgiving evening. A few were traditional favorites, including Miracle on 34th Street and It’s A Wonderful Life. A couple were presentations of the Bible’s Christmas story and one told the entire Jesus story, from the point of view of John, the author of the Gospel of John. That gospel is widely thought to not include an account of the arrival of Christ. (That general wisdom is, I have presented in the last four issues of Weekly Whittlings, entirely wrong. During the Christmas Season 1989, I wrote my first sermon on this theme with the title, “The Christmas Story for Thinkers.”)

Kathy and I watched most of these movies together. Our favorite was a new, to us, episode of a Hallmark Channel series, Signed, Sealed and Delivered. However, my personal favorite was the Hallmark presentation of, Christmas Princess, the deeply emotional, and very close to home, story of a trio of siblings, first neglected, then fostered, then left behind, then fostered again, then adopted into a loving family, then the continuing struggle to find healing, wholeness and love that endured not matter what.

A couple of movies ago it struck me that the core message of each and every Christmas movie I saw this year was the same. Recall the line from the Christmas Carrol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” It didn’t seem to matter if the movies were secular or religious. Someone in each movie had a fear and a hope. All of those fears and hopes met, encountered, what? Just Love! Just Love triumphed.

All hopes and fears meet Just Love.

Hopes and fears are transformed into Just Love.

The hopes and fears of the Jewish people met, in the Bethlehem stable, the incarnation of Just Love. The longings of the astrologers from afar saw and followed Just Love’s star, and these pagans were included in the Christmas transformation. A teenager, fearing one more terrible encounter with abandonment, instead ran right smack dab into Just Love. Two adults terrified by relationship failures in the past meet, what? Just Love. Greed is transformed into generosity by Just Love. Loneliness becomes community by way of its remembrance of Just Love.

Why so many very different stories with the same theme? That’s easy, what all of us long for is unconditional love. What so many lonely people cannot believe in is Just Love. What some lives have experienced for so many years is the absence of Just Love. Theologies from many traditions teach that God is something else than Just Love. I believe those theologies are either totally wrong or totally inadequate.

Just Love is the Reality that changes everything.

“I Believe!”

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