Wondering how best to wile away those hours of vacation time this Christmas? Hoping for some good family activities to help you all slow down and enjoy one another’s company? Look no further. The Examined Life’s Lindsay Marshall has some holiday movie tips, complete with suggested questions for group discussion:
I guess I have to call myself a true Californian if my Christmas doesn’t feel complete without a trip to Disneyland to see the fireworks. When I was at Biola, my two best friends were my roommate Becca and my boyfriend (now my husband) Nate, and our favorite tradition was our first trip to see the Christmas fireworks on Main Street. They used instrumental versions of hymns, the show was spectacular, and we just couldn’t help loving the “snow” that fell on Main Street to the strains of a soulful White Christmas. Unfortunately, the whole thing was bookended by some pop star wailing an original song called “Remember the Magic.” We used to laugh at the song’s vapidity, but there was always something sad about the empty sentimentality of what Disney clearly thought (and many people standing around us confirmed) could be a meaningful experience.
Upon further reflection, this empty sentiment is, in a small way, encouraging. In a country that has taken the commercialization of Christmas to a level that would make even poor Linus despair, there’s still something about the holiday that affects people. Beneath the toys, food, lights, and family gatherings, there’s something real about that day that we can’t drown out with shallow celebration. Disney calls it magic, and that’s not too far off the mark. C.S. Lewis called it Deep Magic in his Narnia chronicles, and there’s something mystical about the power of the hope the Incarnation can have, even on those who deny its existence. In that sense, it was wrong of the three of us to laugh at Disney’s inadequate expression of that hope. It’s easy to write it off as mere emotional manipulation, but there’s something of the groaning of Creation for her Savior in those hollow lyrics. Our response should be to encourage a deeper pursuit of the Mystery, not to mock it.
To atone for years of failing to do that, Nate and I have compiled a list of classic and not-so-classic Christmas films for your viewing pleasure this season. We hope that they lead you to a deeper contemplation of the Incarnation and its power to reach all those beings created in the Image of God.
Read the rest here, and let us know which movies you’d like to see added to this list.