I will confess right here and now that I love Christmas movies. It begins for me on the day after Thanksgiving and will generally continue to New Year’s eve. I am particularly fond of the old ones- Christmas in Connecticut, Holiday Inn, Shop Around the Corner, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (not the newer versions, but the Maureen O’Hara one), It’s a Wonderful Life (cutest, worst singing of Buffalo Gals ever!) and most of the Christmas Carol/Scrooge adaptations. There’s a long list.
My family puts up with my obsession, kinda. They want to kick in their 2 cents worth with their “Christmas classics”- Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Edward Scissorhands. Not exactly the warm, fuzzy, sitting in front of the fire with hot cocoa things I think of for family Christmas!
But my absolute favorite Christmas movie (and the family will not watch with me) is …. drum roll please….. Prancer!
Not just because it has Sam Elliot in it, which I will admit is a definite bonus. This movie is about loss & redemption- A mother, a father, a neighbor, a child, a friend, a community. It’s about believing in something bigger and teaching others to believe. It begins with a small child, as most of the best stories do. She’s not self conscious about singing with her whole heart. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like her and she has a ton of faith. She’s keeping hope alive while those around her have lost their ability to see the possibilities.
There’s a moment where the father (Sam Elliot again) realizes the very thing his daughter needs and he begins to read to her:
” You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.” New York Sun, Sept. 21, 1897, Francis Pharcellus Church
The real and abiding things, that’s what I’m looking for this Christmas. My children ask me every year what I want. My standard answer is “a million dollars and a home on the coast!” But what I want most of all is their happiness, to spend a little time with them, and to know that their eyes are turned to a humble manger where the greatest gift to everyone was born.