Advent at the Movies

“In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may only be the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

– Frederick Buechner

Tim, my husband, tends to get into what we call a ‘trailer loop.’ It starts with: “Can I show you guys a movie trailer?” And there goes the whole evening. One trailer leads to another trailer leads to an occasional YouTube video leads to another trailer. I don’t think Tim is alone. We love the promise of a good story. There’s something fundamentally irresistible about someone saying,

I have such a great story to tell you.

And that’s exactly what movie trailers do. Sometimes the promise of a good story is even better than the story itself – but nothing beats the satisfied lean-back after the promise is adequately fulfilled. Advent is the trailer, the promise, before Christmas. And the Christmas story has the best, most-satisfying payout of all time.

All the narrow escapes
and great rescues
and bravest heroes
and happiest endings

are echoes rippling from this first narrow escape and great rescue and brave hero. This is the happiest of endings. Although they are just ripples, the wonderful classics mentioned in our  “Coming Soon: Incorporting Classic Christmas Cinema into Your Advent Celebration” are a beautiful opportunity to stew in the ‘moment just before’ as Buechner calls it and discuss Advent themes with your children.

Talk about Faith after watching Miracle on 34th Street. Learn about Love with Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Experience the Joy of giving during White Christmas. And find Peace with George in It’s a Wonderful Life. All of these films are available through Amazon Prime Streaming.

So set aside four nights in the course of your Advent celebration to curl up with your people and enjoy these echoes of the Greatest Story ever told.

Some portions here are excerpted from “Coming Soon: Incorporting Classic Christmas Cinema into Your Advent Celebration.”

  • Lynn Dunklin
    Posted at 22:06h, 21 November Reply

    I suggest The Muppet Christmas Carol and Eloise at Christmas. These are fabulous! I am sure you can find trailers for them on YouTube.

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      Lauren Cibene
      Posted at 09:53h, 22 November Reply

      True story: A Muppet Christmas Carol is probably my favorite version of A Christmas Carol!

  • Susan Dell
    Posted at 15:10h, 24 November Reply

    What about Little Women? That might be a good family movie during this time of year. Do you have a favorite version?

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