What Happened to Christmas Specials?
I watched A Muppet Christmas Carol last night, just like I do every year. It’s one of my favorite Christmas specials and perhaps one of the best Muppets movies in the post-Jim Henson era. But more than that, it’s perhaps one of the best Christian movies of all time.
I watch the movie every year, I can sing the songs from heart and yet somehow, every year, I am completely surprised when Kermit the Frog says this line…
“He told me that he hoped the people saw him in church because it might be pleasant for them to remember upon Christmas Day who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.’
This is almost a direct line from Charles Dicken’s book. So it’s not surprising that it’s in a movie based on the book; it is surprising that it is on Disney. It is surprising to see these words come from Disney owned and distributed IP.
The same company of which the songwriter for Frozen says, “One of the only places you have to draw the line at Disney is with religious things, the word God". Lopez went on to say: "…you can't put it in the movie."
But there it is. Every year. Still there, like a Christmas Miracle.
But it’s also in Charlie Brown when Linus reads Luke 2:8-14. Charles Schulz famously refused to place Santa in his Christmas special because it distracted from the true Christian message. He decided instead to further mock Santa in the Halloween special with the idea of needlessly waiting on the Great Pumpkin.
Or we can look at how Santa was portrayed as a Christ-figure in the original Miracle of 34th St, or how George Bailey is sent an angel from God to show him the value of his life.
And who can forget the greatest Christian Christmas movie of all time, Home Alone. Don’t believe me? Watch this…
But somehow it seems that while we were distracted with whether or not Starbucks would print Merry Christmas on a paper cup, we completely overlooked whether or not Hollywood was making any true Christian Christmas specials anymore.
The new ones we do have are usually about characters in the North Pole and seem to bypass any Christian subplot. But worse, it seems as if most streaming services just create tons of cheesy Hallmark romcoms with one random end scene featuring the characters kissing in front of a Christmas tree. That’s a wrap: call it a Christmas Movie.
Christmas is a great time to look back and see the gifts that Hollywood gave Christianity. A time to imagine what things would be like if these incredible stories were not from a time in the past that we reflect on just once a year.
At LOOR, we don’t want to make Christmas movies Christian again, we want to make every movie Christian. We believe the reason these Christmas classics are classics are not because they are about Christmas, but because they are about Christianity. This is what makes a story last from generation to generation. These movies are not evangelical gospel tracts, but simply redemptive and true to anyone who is an image bearer from generation to generation.
So as the LOOR teams finalizes our LOOR beta, for launch in the New Year, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas and may 2022 begin a new era in classic films for the good of the entire world.
Marcus Pittman, CEO
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