Quick, name that movie!
Before your time? How about this one?
“Kevin! What did you do to my room?”
These are, of course, the closing scenes to some of our most-beloved holiday movies. Christmas movies are special in many ways—they only come on at a certain time of the year; we share memories of watching them with family and friends; and they almost invariably have a message of miraculous hopefulness.
It is the last of these attributes that I want to discuss in a sort of “theology of Christmas movies,” or, the indomitable hope of Christmas coming.
We should probably first agree that nearly all Christmas movies are the same. They all involve:
- Large groups of people with varying personalities and points of view
- Some trouble/hijinks that occurs that will undoubtedly prohibit Christmas from coming
- A Christmas miracle
- Emotional, tearjerker conclusion complete with light snowfall, family gathering, and general optimistic good will.
The movie-makers know how to appeal to an emotion inherent in people during the holiday season; specifically the idea that no matter how hopeless things appear to be, Christmas always comes with joy and hope and gladness and solves whatever problems have arisen throughout the story.
I believe that the reason that man is so hopeful at Christmas time is an inborn desire for God. People may fill that desire with holly and mistletoe, parties and gift giving, etc.; but there is a longing in every man that only the coming of Christmas (read Jesus) can fix. We are predisposed to expect that there is something magical or miraculous in Christmas. There is!
If you haven’t found this hope, this could be your greatest Christmas ever. The Christmas movie is so appealing to us because it is the story of our lives. We find ourselves in a hopeless situation that we cannot repair–then, just in time, Christmas comes.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,” – Galatians 4:4a