If you don’t like hearing about men crying while watching sappy Christmas movies, this post is not for you. But if you appreciate that movies, even sappy ones, can make you cry even if you have seen them 10 times, this post may be for you.
On Sunday morning I sat with my two youngest sons and watched “Mr Krueger’s Christmas.” I expected them to be bored — anything that is not animated usually turns them off — but they were not. They were actually riveted as Mr. Krueger gave his thanks to the baby Jesus, while their dad sat holding them, tears streaming down his cheeks.
It seems to me a scene of ultimate humility, getting on your knees with clasped hands to thank a young baby repeatedly, as Mr. Krueger does. That this act is carried out by the mentally challenged and sometimes creepy-looking Mr. Krueger is even more touching, a reminder that even “the least of these” is a giant in God’s eyes. I also love the fact that the movie concentrates on things all Christians can appreciate, the central roll of Christ in saving and uplifting us all.
Afterwards, my four-year-old boy said, “Daddy, that movie is all about love!” Yes, my son got it.
Later that night my wife and I sat down to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” probably for the 10th time (at least). A younger Jimmy Stewart plays a very different role, of course, but interestingly he portrays human fraility incredibly well. He is filled with endless drama — stomping around the house and in his climactic scene destroying his living room as his family watches — but we always feel that he is essentially a strong character because he makes so many selfless decisions during his lifetime.
Seen from the perspective of 2009, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is an unapologetically religious film. It is filled with angels and miracles and people praying and mentioning God constantly. I’m not sure Hollywood would make such a film today (but it is worth mentioning that there are many independent filmmakers doing such things every year).
In the end, it is George Bailey’s selflessness that turns him into a hero and saves him. His friends and family pouring into his house are a reminder of a life’s review, and I couldn’t help thinking, “what will my life’s review be like — will I have touched as many lives in a positive manner as George Bailey did?”
So, Jimmy Stewart’s characters remind us of selflessness and humility, friendship and love — the characteristics of our Savior. This is why I cried twice on Sunday.