By Sue Murphy
I’ve been watching a lot of Christmas movies. You could hardly avoid them this year given that three channels started running them back-to-back before Halloween.
I know I’ve talked about this glut before, but I have to tell you, when the other channels are filled with fires and treachery and crimes so horrible they require a separate unit on the police force, it’s comforting to know I can hit the remote and be transported to a place where the biggest problem is that they can’t find the star for the town Christmas tree.
Oh sure, the plot in every one of these movies is pretty much the same. Alas, our protagonist has lost her emotional way. Through a series of half-baked events, she finds herself back in her family home or in a strange town where people immediately treat her like family. And none of these towns are Scroogeville, either – unless the one who is lost is the town itself. If the entire populous does not have a case of the Grinches (a Hallmark 911), each and every house is decorated so intensely that it looks like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
No matter how lost our protagonist is, after the first commercial, Jennifer or Linda or Holly (spoiler alert: Holly is probably Santa’s long lost daughter) gets drawn into the town’s holiday festivities. They drink cocoa. They bake cookies. They gather to watch the town’s Christmas pageant, which has somehow lost its singer/writer/costume designer, and guess who just happens to be a singer/writer/costume designer.
Along the way, of course, our heroine meets a special someone and seems safely on her way to holiday happiness, but as we still have 45 minutes of air time to fill, a misunderstanding arises that is so egregious that our heroine decides there is nothing more to do but leave Christmas Town and return to her former empty, downcast life.
Five minutes left before the credits! There simply couldn’t be enough time for things to work out. (Really? Are you new?) And then there comes a moment, “the moment” when our principals are reunited and decide to let go of whatever has been standing between them. They embrace, snow falls, and we can tell by the happy glow on their faces that they know they are really and truly loved.
That’s what I wish for you this season. Not the first three quarters of the movie. Seriously, skip all that. But here’s the takeaway: If there’s someone you think has wronged you, don’t let another commercial go by without at least an attempt at a reconciliation. Then you can fast-forward to the part where everyone is happy.
You don’t have to live in Santa Claus Town to experience “the moment.” You don’t have to harbor a dream of owning a cupcake emporium or holiday ski lodge. It’s true. You, who bought your holiday cookies from someone else’s bakery and last-minute safety-pinned a costume for your child’s Christmas pageant (Was that today?); you, who decided that putting up a tree was just too much work this year; you, who are flawed and tired and can’t even find the remote to watch the Christmas movies; you, too, can have “the moment,” that simultaneous embracing and letting go of all the right things. In fact, you might need it most of all.
So, that is my wish for you this year. Poor creatures that we are, we all want to know – need to know – that we are really and truly loved, loved beyond time and space and measure.
Roll the credits. Merry Christmas!