It’s been said, jokingly, that in every movie ever made there are really only ten different plots. Let me give you an example. A woman is in a bad marriage; the man is either abusive or just not a good husband, but the woman is a saint who stays in the marriage because she feels it is the right thing to do. There is, however, a kind, intelligent, good-looking young man down the street who has never quite managed to find that truly special person. Just possibly, this “boy next-door” is someone from her past whom she never expected to see again. When these two serendipitously bump into each other at (insert public location here,) the chemistry is obvious almost instantly. But because she is a saint and he is a good man, they don’t do anything improper, and you feel the tragedy of the situation. The good man is about to leave town or marry someone else he doesn’t love, when miraculously the bad husband is hit by a train or killed in a mining accident. The saint, after a proper time of mourning, is able to marry the good guy and live happily ever after.
I have seen at least one hundred different movies with this theme, and when my son and I walk in on my wife watching just such a “chick flick”, we jokingly call out a plot number. “Oh, this must be a number 3.” It’s a reference to the movie being so very predictable.
Most of the year, these movies bother me. I can’t watch them because they are usually badly acted, and so corny that I will get up and go do something else.
At Christmas time, however, my tune changes: I will sit down and watch a cheesy Christmas movie, and even tear up a little as the girl gets the guy, or the children find out there really is a Santa, or [insert plot number of choice].
Why is it that I change so much between Thanksgiving and Christmas? What softens in me so that I go from being sarcastic to openly emotional?
Maybe pine trees and candles lighten my mood. Or maybe being with family more makes me more congenial; (yeah, right)! Possibly it could be the memories of my childhood, or the wonder of Christmas seen in my children’s eyes. Or is it, as the Grinch says, a little bit more?
This time of year, unlike most of the year, I am more likely to hear the story of Jesus, and not just at church on Sunday. Our pastor has been telling us all month that there is a cost to the hope of the season. To us it is free, but God paid an amazing price to reconcile us to Himself.
During this season, as I watch the news every night, I see groups trying to give gifts and food to children and families that don’t have any. I look around me and see that I am so blessed. God has given me a ministry and a purpose, and a family whom I love and who love me. We have a roof over our heads and food in our refrigerator.
So maybe, instead of being my usual sarcastic self, during this time I am actually remembering to be thankful for what I have been given. Perhaps this is something that should affect all our lives a little bit more.