December 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – At the end of many of my long days doing LifeSite work, I find I have to tune out, away from all the cares of the world and into my male “nothing box” brain, flipping through television channels, trying to find something inspirational or otherwise suitably distracting to watch for a while.
Very often, I become aghast at how mindless, vile and vulgar so much television programming has become. For many years I have hardly watched any television and so now seeing how extreme the change has become is jarring.
I think especially of all the young teens and older youth watching this media drug and being corrupted and malformed and their spirits drained by it.
However, a few days ago a new pattern emerged. Channel after channel had just-produced Christmas programs and specials that were notably different and wonderful compared to the usual secular Christmas movies such as “Elf”, “Home Alone”, “The Santa Claus”, etc. And of course, the best Christmas movie of all time that is still shown every year is the old black and white, “It's a Wonderful Life.”
I was amazed. Every program I watched over 2 days actually included people talking about “Christmas”, rather than the vacuous “Holidays.” More amazing was that every one also included some part where traditional Christmas carols were sung and had references to the birth of Jesus in the stable. It was much more than the secular, Santa Claus only theme.
One was a love story about a young singer finally coming to his senses about a woman who would be very good for him. He surprises her with his change of heart by finding the restaurant where she is sadly dining alone and then proceeds to sing Silent Night out loud as he approaches her in the full restaurant. Everyone cheers. Silent Night, in a modern program?
The programs had their flaws and sometimes inappropriate moments, but I was nevertheless astonished and moved by them. Things had not gone as far dead as I believed.
And then I thought, all these people in the entertainment industry, despite having to endure the usually lifeless, shallow duties of their daily trade, nevertheless can find no better inspirational material in the world than the true spirit and generous and loving heart of Christmas. Tried and true for millennia.
That is, some of them accept, to at least some meaningful degree, every year at this time, the irresistible blessings of celebrating the birth of the infant Saviour, the ultimate innocent child, who is understood to have later given His life for all of mankind.
Sure, there are many who also mock and trash Christmas and make up their fiction about the supposed fiction of Christmas. But, from what I saw, those were an unexpected, tiny minority.
It is all about love, real love. The love that ONLY God can give and that we can give to Him by loving others and giving to others because of that love of His for us.
Each of the programs I saw had parts that I am sure brought some tears of joy to many who were watching the programs – Christian believer or not. That was not the television that I had been despairing of. What a marvelous transformation, if only temporary.
So, what is the message? It’s simple. There is reason for hope.
If even the hardened, corrupted hearts of television industry writers, producers and actors can be moved to present such truly meaningful programs because of Christmas, there really is hope for the world.
Christmas can be a transforming experience and an annual reminder that there is far more that is beautiful about life and giving and loving than it often seems during the rest of the year.
All everyone has to do is to be open, reach out and take it, and then spread it to others. We do that by laughing, smiling, being patient and giving of ourselves and of what we have to those around us and to anyone else we encounter who would be blessed from being the beneficiary of encountering such gifts of self from us.
Yes, Christmas passes, and most of what warms the heart on screen is done for commercial reasons. And yet, I can’t believe that anyone can fake it to the degree that I saw in the programs I came upon, and even if they did, the positive effect on viewers is priceless.
This is what the pro-life, pro-family movement has, at the bottom line, to offer the world – the experience of true love.
If love is not our motive, then we can never expect to move those we desire to change. The infant Jesus shows us that every year at this time.
We just happen to forget and then have to be reminded again and again, year after year.
Let’s take it more to heart than ever. Make it Christmas year round. That is, make it so that those who meet us encounter the spirit of Christmas in us, as much as we can, all year round. The true Christmas, that is, that emanates from union with Jesus Christ.
That will cause a revolution. Not too many will resist such love and self-giving.