Christmas movies contain a great deal of theological wisdom. In Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicle, Santa tells Teddy and Kate Pierce, two kids that jumped into his sleigh (IT COULD HAPPEN), that we need the Christmas Spirit.
In the movie, Santa’s sleigh has crashed. It’s an Epic disaster. One of the kids, Teddy Pierce, says, “So what if a few kids don’t get presents? It’s not the end of the world.”
Santa replies, “That’s just the kind of lame garbage I’d expect from a lost believer. You listen to me Teddy Pierce. Tonight, young boys and girls all over the globe are waiting, hoping, expecting, Santa Claus to arrive. If I don’t… well you don’t wanta know what happened the last time I couldn’t make my rounds.”
Teddy’s little sister Kate says “Yes, we’d like to know. What happens?”
Santa replies, “You’ve heard of the dark ages, read about all those wars in school.” Teddy replies, “Well sure, but, those happened because you missed Christmas?”
And Santa says, “The Christmas spirit is more powerful than you could ever imagine. People need Christmas to remind themselves of how good they can be. Without it, without Christmas, well Christmas simply must endure! I need to round up the reindeer, call the elves and maybe, just maybe, I can still save Christmas!”
In The Santa Clause, Elf Judy sagely tells us, “Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing.”
This Christmas, be present to the reality and meanings of God’s gifts to us. Eat hearty. Party wisely and well. Don’t work too hard. Read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Oscar Hijuelos’ Mr. Ives’ Christmas. Watch Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Queen Latifah in Perfect Holiday, everybody in Love Actually, Danny Glover in Almost Christmas, Nothing like the Holidays with, again, everybody, andSandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping. Listen to Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon and watch Joyeux Noel about the December 1914 WWI Christmas Truce.
This Christmas let’s declare a truce with the whole of 2020, the Covid crisis and all the political uproar.
Take a child to see Santa. Give generously to the poor. Sing Christmas carols and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. Sled. Get lots of sleep. Play with your little brothers and sisters. Be nice to them. They look up to you. Help your parents. Do the dishes and clean the bathroom. Come back refreshed and ready for the second semester.
Walk outside at 2:00 AM on a freezing cold, starlit, 15o degree night, and experience the awesomeness of the universe. Go to Midnight Mass. Read the first chapters of Matthew and Luke over and over and over again.
Most of all, know that Christmas is the time of year when we remember and ponder the birth of our God who loves us so much that he becomes one of us. Vulnerable and wrapped in swaddling clothes, baby bald, lying on straw in a barn among the poor and unknown of the world, appears the one who saves us.
Worship him these days. Know that Jesus is real and wants to be reborn again in your heart. The Lord has a mission for you. These days, listen to that inner voice of your imagination wherein God communicates.
Know that St. Ignatius was right: All is Gift! All of us at Cristo Rey Jesuit wish you a Blessed Christmas. Peace and Joy to you and all the world!
Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J.