If you know me, you know I love Christmas. I love the smells and experiences. I love the times with friends and family. I really, really look forward to cookies at Christmas, but I have to admit that I love Christmas movies, too. The movies of the season set the stage for the Christmas. Here’s a list of my top-5 favorite Christmas movies:
5. “It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown!” There’s one scene in this movie that my family talks about every year: Charlie Brown gets frustrated trying to direct the Christmas play and yells “What is Christmas all about!??!??!?” Linus responds by quoting Luke 2 from memory (one of the best Christmas sermons EVER preached). If this movie doesn’t bring you back down and focus you on what matters, then there ain’t a lot that will.
4. “Rudolf, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” This made-for-TV movie from the 1960’s is a part of our Christmas every year. The character of Rudolf actually came from a coloring book in the 30’s and has NOTHING to do with Jesus directly. The story does take on several themes that, if you’re preceptive and creative, can speak to the story of Jesus as you relate to children, family, and friends. Rudolf is rejected by the reindeer; Jesus was rejected by the Jews. In spite of his rejection, Rudolf steps up when Santa needs him to light the way; Jesus delivered us from our sin with his obedience to the Father’s plan of redemption, even in the midst of brutal opposition. Rudolf is ultimately cherished for uniqueness; we, the ransomed, love and follow Jesus because the same traits that caused the Jews to reject and kill Him.
3. “The Polar Express” This movie is straight-up emotional for me. I love it. The story of the Polar Express centers on a theme of faith. It’s all about a young boy’s journey to the North Pole on Christmas Eve aboard the Polar Express. The boy’s not sure he can buy into this Santa Claus thing, but eventually Santa, himself, wins him over and presents him with the first present of Christmas: a bell. This special bell can only be heard by those who believe in Christmas. The boy believes and hears. Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” … the sound of the bell only followed believing in the bell. I’m always crying at the end of this film reminded of how faith in Jesus can be so very tangible and intangible at the same time.
2. “Elf” Will Farrell and Zooey Deschanel: Brilliant. This is movie is seriously funny. I vomit laugh when I watch it: you know, laughs that come out loud and fast and unexpected. Basically it’s all about a human raised as an Elf at the North Pole who moves to New York City to find his father and ends up saving Christmas by helping Santa repair his sleigh in Central Park. Other than the obvious humor, this film reminds us of what childlikeness can really look like in cynical world and demonstrates the power of simple belief.
1. “It’s A Wonderful Life” This movie is a part of our personal Christmas tradition. My wife and watch it together EVERY christmas and have since before we were married. Even though this move is set at Christmas time, it’s not very much thematically Christmas. Santa Claus is not the main character. There are no reindeer. There is however, the phenomenal story of a man and his family. Jimmy Steward plays the role of George Bailey in this Frank Capra film. I relate to George Bailey. I relate because he’s given a lot of his life to helping the people in his town only to end up in a pretty bad situation. When life get’s dark, George Bailey gets to see what the world would look like without him in it. He’s reminded of all the small things he’s done that made big differences. I often forget that God is in the small, but I am grateful that He is willing to often remind me. What movies did I leave off? Any other one’s make your list?