Is Christmas your favorite holiday? I wouldn't say Christmas is mine, but I do enjoy Christmas-themed movies. Some of my all-time favorite movies happen to be based during the Christmas season. I laugh every time I watch Buddy the Elf explore the streets of New York, and I always cry a little when George Bailey yells "Merry Christmas!" down the streets of Bedford Falls. I really enjoy watching Christmas movies with my children.
Yesterday, we watched a movie about a family who secretly blesses another family all Christmas season. The family ends up blessing a family full of bullies. The kids do not understand why they must give good gifts to children who are so mean to them, but they do it anyways. The children finally learn why they were doing it all along, and why their mother chose this family specifically. My own children were asking about many of the elements of this movie, including if any of the boys in the movie were actually brothers. They also saw some parallels in their own lives to the lives of the families in the movie.
Jesus teaches during his Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
My kids have been learning lately what it means to be kind to those who are not nice to them. They have had to take a different approach, the Jesus approach, to situations that easily cause them to anger. Watching movies with messages, and not just entertainment or sentimental value, are my intention. I love hearing questions from my kids (and anyone else who was watching with us) about these movies. Watching anything together, secular or not, can always bring about good discussions with kids. Putting things back on them, like "Do you think that is what the character should have done?" is something we often do too. Not everything has to be so serious in our household, but we can always enjoy learning. We can also just enjoy being with each other.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"