A New Favorite Christmas Movie?
We watched a movie that might just become a new favorite Christmas movie. However, The Case for Christ has precious little to do with the holidays. No bucolic manger scenes, but, the movie conveys many glimpses of a happy home, even with some familiar familial dysfunctions.
No, it will not probably be a contender for an Academy Award this year – but it’s time well spent. Especially when fatigue, frustration, and emptiness multiply.
A Predictable Plot
A little longer than most holiday movies, The Case for Christ‘s plot, while predictable, traces a skeptic’s investigation of Christ’s death and resurrection. The husband resents his wife’s conversion to what he thinks is a cult. As expected, he aims to show her Christ didn’t die, and Jesus’ resurrection is a myth; something an investigative journalist like himself will easily expose.
What he exposes – again, no surprise – is the trustworthiness of the accounts of the death and resurrection of Christ. They aren’t myths, or urban legends.
Seeing again the assembling of historical facts that confirm Christ died and was resurrected never disappoints. In ways more fulfilling than watching grumpy people singing familiar holiday songs to refuel Santa’s sleigh ride across the NYC skyline, the movie conveys a resounding reason for my celebrating the season: Christ’s conquering death.
Not the Usual Holiday Hope
A happy bonus of seeing the grinch’s assumptions in this movie confuted, was seeing the
means the unseen God turned the old boy around: praying His word.
. . . I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36:26
And isn’t that idea what makes so many of our cherished movie memories worth revisiting? People’s hearts and minds are changed!
That’s the punch line of Christmas movies I like; movies that lift my spirits by showing me beloved stories of renewal and redemption. Whether it is some variation of A Christmas Carol, The Christmas Story, The Bishop’s Wife, It’s a Wonderful Life, or Elf, I love the feel-good feelings, happy thoughts, and hopefulness their producers have woven with the visuals, dialogues, and music.
Ghosts reveal truth to crabby old men who amend their ways;
Angels intervene, and
Parents give life-changing gifts make a difference. Meanwhile,
We say yes, the holidays can do that for folks . . .
Why, then, is it still a stretch to believe that the Reason for the season isn’t locked in some manger in the Middle East? He is beyond grown-up, but is still operating on our hearts. That’s a Christmas message worth sharing, especially if skeptics, scrooges, and grinches loom large:
“Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come Lord Jesus.” ― Frederick Buechner, The Clown in the Belfry: Writings on Faith and Fiction