In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Merry Christmas to you and may God bless you in the coming year.
Isaac Watts hymn describing the joy the world will experience at the coming of its savior is one of my favorite hymns of advent. This version of that hymn has always been a favorite of my family.
So it’s that time of year when a certain group of movies appear on movie channels and cable TV channels. And I won’t deny that I have a list of films that I will watch when it gets close to Christmas. And so without further ado and in no particular order:
The movie where Bing Crosby first sang White Christmas. And in my opinion when he was in his best voice.
Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather. What can I say about film that has a world which is flat laying on the back of four elephants that stands upon a giant turtle swimming through the galaxy. How about here’s a chance to see Michelle Dockery in her first film roll. Or what about taking a look at a very different Santa Claus (he has boar tusks!). Or maybe here is a fantasy film that puts it’s tongue in its cheek and keeps it there. Give it a try.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This has been remade a couple of times but I think that the original is still the best. And for me Edmund Glenn is perfect as the little old man who claims to be the one and only Santa Claus.
A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) 1951 Alastair Sim
This film is found under both names and again in my humble opinion is the very best version of Charles Dickens story. Alastair Sim is the best Scrooge. There is a colorized version of this film but the black and white version is the best.
OK I said Holiday Inn is Bing at his best voice, not going to take that back. But Danny Kaye is at his manic best in this movie. As the Davis to Crosby’s Wallace when he looks at Bing and says “I want you to get married. I want you to have nine children. And if you only spend five minutes a day with each kid, that’s forty-five minutes, and I’d at least have time to go out and get a massage or something.”I die laughing.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Frank Capra’s classic tale of how one life can affect so many others is a classic Christmas tale of redemption and friendship. And is a must see at my house.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! Psalm 80:1,3,14,17
This psalm reflects both the anticipation of Christ’s incarnation and the coming again of Christ on the Last Day when he comes in glory to judge the living and the dead. Both in some ways are fearful and wonderful things. Consider the message of the angel to the shepherds on that night; Fear Not! (Luke 2:10) Here the incarnation is a cause of rejoicing and wonder as the second person of the Trinity takes on flesh.
But there will come another time when the incarnate Word arrives this time with all his glory and ” He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” which is both a fearful and wonderful thing.